This unit will be taught to four sixth grade general science classes at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School in New Haven, CT. Science is departmentalized at Betsy Ross and each class period is fifty-two minutes long, approximately. The sixth grade curriculum has four science standards that must be taught throughout the year and they are Ecosystems, Simple Machines, Weather, and the Human Impact on Our Water. The curriculum unit I plan to introduce is the Human Impact on Out Water. It was suggested to me by my science supervisor, Richard Therrien, that air pollution is ignored in our curriculum, but it shouldn't be because we are an inner-city school district and air pollution is a major problem. The reason why water is more emphasized is because the state standards believe this is more relevant due to the suburbs having well water and, thus, water quality is more important. I believe, due to the high rates of asthma and allergies amongst my students, they need to understand air pollution, both indoors and outdoors. The fact that our children spend more time indoors than I did in growing up, they need to know that there are as many dangers to indoor air, even more so, than outdoor air.
I plan to have students become more aware of using natural cleaning products and since New Haven Public Schools are using more natural cleaning products, students will have to realize that strong odors, such as chlorine bleach, doesn't make things any cleaner than products made from citrus products. Baking soda and lemons can have just as much power as the bleaches and ammonia, which can lead to upper respiratory ailments. Some hands-on laboratory activities will be to create natural cleaners. Although I will not be able to enforce students to change the habits of their parents, my goal is to educate them in alternative practices for their adult lives. Just opening up a window can greatly decrease indoor air pollution. Our school is centrally heated and air-conditioned, but I plan on opening up a window in my classroom to make the point that pollutants are more diffused outdoors than indoors.