Teachers and Students

K-12 Air Quality Education

N.C. Air Awareness is the public outreach and education program of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality. The program helps individuals and organizations learn how their actions can reduce air pollution, improve air quality and improve one's health.

The program provides a variety of free K-12 lessons and resources for teachers. All lessons are aligned with the N.C. Essential Standards to help students reach established academic goals. All lessons are completely free and hundreds of teachers across North Carolina are already using our content.

In addition to classroom activities, our program also offers programs for Girl Scouts, Drivers Ed and Vehicle Emission Reduction Activities (VERA), and an air quality contest for seventh graders names the AQ IQ Contest.

Distance Learning & Virtual Speakers

N.C. Air Awareness offers a variety of content for K-12 teachers that they can use for online or distance learning environments. You can also find other environmental topics such as water quality, sedimentation, and geology at https://deq.nc.gov/outreach-education/distance-learning.

Our team is continuly adding distance learning content. To learn more and get the latest content, email our team at air.awareness@ncdenr.gov and tell us what grade you are looking for and we will send you ready-to-go lessons for your classroom!

Our staff can also come to your classroom (virtual or in person in the future) and teach your students about air quality through a variety of labs and presentation options that cater to your specific teaching needs.

Teacher Workshops - FREE!

N.C. Air Awareness workshops are held virtual and at different locations around the state. These free workshops are designed as a refresher for educators on properties of air, what air pollution is, how each of us contributes to air pollution. The workshops include inquiry, hands-on activities, presentation materials, classroom videos and games. 

Attending our workshop can earn you Continuing Education Unit credits (CEU's) and Criteria I Credit for the North Carolina Environmental Education Certificate. Email us at air.awareness@ncdenr.gov to set up an event in your area or to find out about air quality education workshops. 

AQ-IQ Contest

Every year, the N.C. Division of Air Quality invites seventh-grade students to participate in the AQ-IQ Contest. The AQ-IQ Contest gives students a chance to create a project that highlights an air quality issue and provides a solution to that issue.

The AQ-IQ Contest links closely with the NC Essential Standards and puts the student in the role of presenting the information, which is one of the most effective ways to learn. For details about the contest, how to participate and project closing date visit: AQ-IQ Contest

Contact Us

The fastest way to find what you are looking for or to reach our team is to email us at air.awareness@ncdenr.gov.   If you would like to schedule an air quality activity or lesson in your school, you can also contact:


Air Quality Education (K-12)

Tab/Accordion Items


How can I prevent air pollution?

Students will make ads communicating specific ways of preventing air pollution. Depending on the availability of supplies, technology and time, students can produce ads by making posters, brochures or skits, google slides, PowerPoints, or anything the teach allows and can be submitted on your platform.

  • Teacher Summary (pdf)
  • Student (pdf)



The Adventures of Clair and CAM
How clean is our air? It’s important to know because children are more sensitive to air pollution because their bodies are still growing. We need your help to keep our air clean and healthy for everyone in the community. An important step in reducing air pollution is to educate students to a level of understanding that motivates and empowers them to act. Have your students join Clair, the clean air explorer, and CAM, the Clean Air Maniac on an adventure to learn what kids can do to help keep the air clean!!

Clair and CAM K-5 Curriculum (9 Activities)  / (Español)

The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up! 
In North Carolina, much of our air pollution comes from motor vehicles (cars, trucks and buses). In this lesson, students will read The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up! to learn about air pollution from motor vehicles, including school buses. Students will explore the definition of carpooling and will be able to explain why vehicles are a source of air pollution and the steps that can be taken to reduce air pollution in school areas during carpool times. In this activity, students also will evaluate different ways of traveling between school and home and will learn how personal or family transportation choices have an impact on their health and the environment. Activities for grades 3 to 5.  Materials are available in English and Spanish.

The Magic School Bus: Air Quality in North Carolina / (Español)  

What's in our Air?
In this set of short and easy activities, students will have the opportunity to learn about airborne particulate matter and how our respiratory system filters and expels them in a fun way.  Students will also learn to simulate particle sampling instruments by designing paper simple particle samplers.”

What's in Our Air (3 Activities) / (Español)



Burning Questions?
The N.C. Division of Air Quality, in coordination with fire departments and local community groups, has designed a set of lesson plans to educate the public about the health effects of open burning (burning trash). Teachers and students can learn about the health and environmental dangers of open burning. These classroom activities are a fun way to bring new and exciting projects into the classroom while finding solutions to air pollution from open burning.  Find more educator resources about this topic on the dedicated Open Burning Teachers and Student page.

Breathe, Don't Burn  / (Español)


It's Our Air
Bring the science of air pollution to life in your North Carolina high school classroom. It's Our Air is a free, North Carolina specific curriculum that includes a series of activities and videos focused on air quality for the state's high school level Earth and Environmental Science teachers and educators to use with their students. It's Our Air engages students in learning the science of air quality using a variety of hands-on activities and dynamic video segments. All activities are aligned with the N.C. Essential Standards for high school Earth and Environmental Science.

Learn more at http://www.itsourair.org/.  . 


It's Our Air can be adapted in a variety of ways for distance or online learning enviornments.  Each lesson includes videos, worksheets, and other content that coudl be used in a varity of teaching envirnoments. We have picked a few activities from It's Our Air and modified them for use in a variety of online learning platforms.  Try these first if you are teaching students that are remote!