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AIR POLLUTION IN the Community

Activity 8 (Elaborate): Not in My Backyard:

Environmental Justice

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Activity Summary

In this activity, students investigate whether environmental injustice may be happening in their communities by using the EPA’s EJ Screen Tool. They will examine a series of maps and graphs to compare pollution levels and demographics in these areas in order to reach their conclusions.

Activity Objectives & Materials

Approximate Time: 60 minutes


  • Students will understand the concept of environmental justice

  • Students will investigate environmental justice in their community to see if certain groups of people are more frequently affected by air pollution



  • Computer & projector

  • Student computers (highly recommended)



  • Environmental Justice investigation guide

Low Tech vs. High Tech: For this activity, students will use maps from the EPA’s online Environmental Justice Screen tool. If student computers are available, they will look up the information themselves. If computers are not available, you will need to have students look on the projector as you use the tool, or print out versions of the maps for students to use. The directions below are based on using student computers, but what students will do with the maps is essentially the same either way.

Standards Connection




1. Frame the Activity


2. Introduction to EJ Screen

3. Particulate Matter and Ozone Maps


4. Demographics 

5. Side-by-Side Maps

6. EJ Indexes

7. Neighborhood Reports

8. Sensemaking Discussion

9. Formative Assessment: Drawing Conclusions


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:

© 2020 by Clean Air Partners.