Air Unit

This Sunflower Air unit is divided into three main sections, each exploring a different theme or question:

1.  How do we know air is there?  (How does air act?)

2.  Air is important for all living things.

3.  Air pollution and its effects.

In the first section, children will be challenged to think about what air is, and how it acts.  For example, children will engage in two activities which demonstrate that even though we can't see air or "touch" it, air takes up space and has weight. Children will also investigate air pressure, and how it acts as a force on objects all around us.  Finally, children will learn about how air moves, and do an activity to investigate the existence of air currents in their own environment.

In the second section, children will become more conscious of the ways in which living things are dependent on air. Children will count the number of breaths they take in a minute, and then estimate how many breaths they take in an entire year.  They will also learn about how plants take in carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen, and will observe the production of oxygen by some underwater plants.  They will also complete the Sunflower Mailbox  "mail-in" activity, sharing their estimates about breaths in a year with others.

Finally, children will investigate air pollution, and its negative effects on our environment.  Children will begin with an experiment to evaluate indoor air pollution, and then will go outside to do a "car-count" and estimate the amount of polluting materials put in to the atmosphere by the vehicles they have counted. They will also interview their parents, to learn in what ways the issue of air pollution is the same and different in other countries. Finally, children will learn about acid rain:  what it is, and its effect on plants and other living things. As an extension activity, children can collect rainwater samples and investigate the extent to which acid rain is a problem in their own local area. Throughout this section, children will be encouraged to think about things that they, their families and their communities can do to minimize the problem of air pollution.

The length of time required to complete the Air Unit depends on the number of extension activities you choose to do.


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