Air Quality - Lesson 5: How Can We Tell What the Quality of the Air Is Today?

1. Have students play Smog City (

Smog City is an interactive air pollution simulator that shows how your choices, environmental factors, and land use contribute to

air pollution. In Smog City, the user is in control so the visit can be a healthy or an unhealthy experience depending on the decisions made.

Smog City can be downloaded from the web site.

2. EPA’s Air Quality Index for Kids site ( aqikids_home.index) 

helps students with low reading ability to understand the AQI.

3. Students can explore the AQI in other cities in the United States over a period of years by referencing the AQI by City and AQI by City

– Ozone files on the MEECS Air Quality CD. There is also an Air Quality Index Summary with pie charts of the AQI for selected areas in


4. Ask advanced students to calculate the daily ozone and particle pollution AQIs from the actual ozone and particle pollution levels found

on the MDEQ web site. The conversions are:



Compare the actual levels of pollutants during the day with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards found in this lesson as a teacher

resource. An online calculator for conversions is at under “Quick Links” and on the MEECS Air Quality CD in Lesson 5.

5. Your school may want to become a Sunwise school, which will allow the students to access online data and activities. See http://www. for registration details. Students can use the EPA Sunwise site to complete a research project on the UV Index.

Daily information is available in the form of contour and graphical maps. Poster presentations or papers could highlight students’ research


6. Sign up for EnviroFlash. This is an electronic air quality notification service designed to communicate regional air quality predictions

to the general public. A description of this free service and sign up instructions are found at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

web site:

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