What's The Air Forecast?

Activity 6 (Explore): Air Quality in the

DC/Baltimore Region

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Activity Summary

In this activity, students learn about what the Air Quality Index (AQI) is to better understand what a Code Red Day is. They use the Clean Air Partners website to research the history of air quality in the region to see patterns in how it has changed over time.

Activity Objectives & Materials

Approximate Time: 2 class periods (approx. 90-120 minutes)


  • Students will learn to interpret the Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • Students will research current and historical AQI data from the DC/ Baltimore area

  • Students will identify the major air pollutants in the DC/Baltimore area and analyze data to show how they have changed over time



  • Computer & projector

  • Student computers (highly recommended)

  • “The air quality today in <blank> is…” (see activity)


  • Air Quality Index reading (double-entry journal)

  • Historical AQI Data Investigation

  • AQI Through the Years

  • Graph paper (optional)

Standards Connection




1. Frame the Activity


2. The Air Quality Index (AQI)

3. Looking Up The Current AQI


4. Researching Historical AQI 

5. AQI Through the Years

6. Reaching A Conclusion

7. Return to the Investigation Tracker

8. Formative Assessment


For more information about On the Air 2020, contact:

Rebecca Davis, Education Manager


For more information about Clean Air Partners, check out our website at:  www.cleanairpartners.net

© 2020 by Clean Air Partners.