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ONLINE COURSE: 6th Grade -> Weathers Role & Air Pollution KWL Wrap Up

Part 1. Introduction - Predictions
Were your predictions about PM presence correct?

This week, you will be learning about "Weathers Role" in the presence of ground level ozone.

Ground level ozone is formed by chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds (VOCs), also known as hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen (NO x ) in the presence of sunlight. NO x and VOCs are known as the chief "precursors" of ozone. These compounds react in the presence of sunlight to produce ozone. These gaseous compounds mix like a thin soup in the atmosphere, and when they are exposed to sunlight, ozone is formed. Due to the nature of these reactions, ozone concentrations can reach unhealthful levels when the weather is hot and sunny with little or no wind. As a result, ground level ozone pollution, or smog, is mainly a daytime problem during summer months.

Large industrial areas and cities with heavy summer traffic are the main contributors to ozone formation. When temperatures are high and the movement of air is limited, ozone can accumulate to unhealthy levels.

What is considered to be an unhealthy level? The EPA has established a general index to guide citizens in planning driving and outdoor activities during the ozone season. The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is a scale used to report ground level ozone and other common pollutants in the air. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. A specific color has been assigned to each AQI category. The color scheme can help to quickly determine if air pollutants are reaching unhealthy levels.

EPA Air Quality Guide for Ozone

  • Good Air Quality Index 0-50 (Green)
    • Partly sunny to cloudy skies or rain
    • Temperatures in mid-70s to low 80s
    • Windy
    • No health impacts are expected when air quality is in this range.
  • Moderate Air Quality Index 51-100 (Yellow)
    • Partly cloudy to sunny skies
    • Temperatures in upper 70s to mid-80s
    • Light to moderate winds
    • Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • Unhealthy-Sensitive Groups Air Quality Index 101 150 (Orange)
    • Sunny skies
    • Temperatures in high 80s to 90s
    • Light winds
    • Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • Unhealthy (more people affected) Air Quality Index 151-200 (Red)
    • Sunny skies
    • Increasing humidity
    • Temperatures in high 80s to 90s
    • Little to no wind
    • Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • Very Unhealthy (Alert) - Air Quality Index 201-300 (Purple)
    • Hazy, hot and humid
    • Temperatures in 90s and above
    • Little or no wind
    • Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.
  • Hazardous  (Alert) - Air Quality Index > 300 (Brown)
    • Health warnings of emergency conditions.
    • The entire population is more likely to be affected.

In areas where ground level ozone has the potential to reach unhealthy levels, Ozone Action Day programs have been established. An Ozone Action Day program is a voluntary initiative by government, environmental groups, and business leaders working with the general public to take extra action to prevent air pollution when high ozone levels are predicted. Because ground level ozone forms under certain weather conditions, a regional team of meteorologists can predict days when ground level ozone concentrations may exceed health standards. These are generally hot, sunny days with little or no wind.

Ozone Action Days can be declared by the state environmental protection agencies if exceptionally high concentrations of ground level ozone are predicted. Awareness of such high levels of ground level ozone allows citizens to take measures to help reduce the amount of ozone or smog.

In this lesson, the students will analyze the same type of data that the meteorologists use to determine the formation of ground level ozone.


Part 2. Weathers Role Activity
Review the lesson and collaboratively complete and submit the Student Worksheet. Please complete the graphs as a necessary step to answer the questions on the Student Worksheet, but please do not worry about sending them along, they can be used as sample data with your students as examples when you implement the lesson in your classrooms.

Assignment A - Weathers Role Activity: Collaborate with your group members to complete the following activity. Please post your results on the Discussion Board or email Instructions directly. To divide the work, one of you might want to handle the weather info and the other the ozone info and share to create a prediction.


1.
Click on the link for New Haven, CT. Locate the city on the map and watch the animation several times. Also mark the location of the city on the map of Connecticut.

2. Determine the AQI Color of New Haven for every hour listed and enter the data into the table on your Student Worksheet (hit the escape key to stop the animation at the specified time and refresh/reload button on your browser to reinitiate the animation).

3. Write in the corresponding Air Quality condition (Good, Moderate, etc.) and Maximum AQI value (0-50, 51-100, etc.). This information can be found on the Air Quality Guide for Ozone .

4. In another browser window (CTR+N) or tab (CTRL+T), or another computer, obtain the weather data for the city selected above. Access the Weather Underground site, by clicking the city
IMPORTANT: Scroll down to read the hourly data

5.
Determine the Temperature (either o C or o F) and Wind Speed (either kmh or mph) for every hour listed in the table and enter the data in the table in you Student Worksheet.

6. Make the following three bar graphs using the data in your table (ask your teacher for assistance if you are unsure how to make the graphs).
  1. Ozone (Max. AQI) v. Time
  2. Temperature v. Time
  3. Wind Speed v. Time

PART 2: Analyze the Data
After you have completed the graphs, use the data in the table and the graphs to answer the questions on the Student Worksheet.

In addition to the Student Worksheet, please submit answers to the following questions:

Explain the connections between weather and ozone. Are the connections clear and predictable?

Explain the connections between weather and PM. Are the connections clear and predictable?


Part 3. Air Pollution KWL Wrap Up
Did you learn/are you able to answer the questions you had at the beginning of the project? If not, what information/resources do you need to answer the questions?

Vanessa and Rita
Two questions I have about outdoor air pollution are:
- In what parts of the country are radon levels highest?
- How do pesticides contribute to oudoor air pollution?

 


 
 
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