Unit 2

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Unit Lesson Essential Skills
2. Caring for the Air 1. Becoming Aware—How to Drive Clean across Texas English, Language Arts, and Reading; Science; Health Education
2. Affecting Transportation Choices—Walk, Don't Ride! English, Language Arts, and Reading; Mathematics; Science; Health Education

Unit 2: Caring for the Air

Vehicle emissions are a major contributor to poor air quality in many Texas cities, as well as across the United States and the entire world. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum air quality standards and deadlines for meeting these standards for areas that are not in attainment of these goals. There are currently (as of summer 2003) nine areas of Texas designated either as non-attainment (or not meeting federal clean air quality standards) or near non-attainment. Non-attainment areas are Houston/Galveston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Beaumont/Port Arthur, and El Paso. Near non-attainment, or areas that are close to exceeding clean air standards, are Austin, San Antonio, Victoria, Tyler/Longview, and Corpus Christi.

Mobile sources, including the cars and trucks we drive, are major sources of polluting emissions and air quality problems. However, we love our cars and trucks in Texas. For decades, our freedom of mobility has helped to ensure a healthy and prosperous way of life. But now, that way of life is being threatened. Ironically, it's being threatened in part by the very things that have helped to make it possible—our cars and trucks.

It has become imperative that we clean up the air in Texas and work to ensure that it stays that way in the future. One of the most important steps to success is reaching our children with this message and making them aware of what it is going to take with regard to their family's and eventually their own transportation-related choices. The Drive Clean Across Texas campaign messages communicate the basic behavioral changes that are necessary in order for Texas to make a dent in the air pollution problem. Students are introduced to the meaning of these messages in a way that demonstrates how they can begin "caring for the air."

Teacher Guide

Subjects Addressed:

English, Language Arts, and Reading; Mathematics; Science; and Health Education

This unit is designed to offer you maximum flexibility. The lessons can be taught as a whole (all activities), or individual activities may be extracted and taught separately as a complement to other curriculum materials you may be using.

Essential Questions:

How can we help keep the air clean?
How do cars pollute?
How can we drive less?
What is a carpool?
What is a "clean" vehicle?


Lesson 1: Becoming Aware—How to Drive Clean across Texas
Working through the "Air Quality Coloring and Activity Book," students become aware of what they can do to make air-friendly transportation choices.

Lesson 2: Affecting Transportation Choices—Walk, Don't Ride!
Through observational, mathematical, oral, and written activities, students learn about carpools, trip reduction, and alternative transportation.

Clean Air Tips