Product Profile

Air Pollution and Solid Waste (People & the Planet unit)



This product is an individual unit from the middle school curriculum People and the Planet. The unit includes a student background reading, five lesson plans, and summative assessment. Scroll down to see the list lessons plans and readings included in the unit. Purchase the unit now and you’ll immediately receive the unit as a PDF.

Note: If you’re planning to purchase People and the Planet or have already done so, you don’t need to purchase this unit as it is included within the larger People and the Planet curriculum.

Other People and the Planet units include: The History of Population Growth; Land Resources; Our Global Family; Population Concepts; Sustainable Future; Water Resources.

SKU: P&P_Waste Category:


The following are included with the purchase of the unit:

Lesson Plans:

  • What’s Up in the Air: Students interpret photos, along with historical accounts and online research, to deduce what human activities contribute to air pollution and suggest possible solutions.
  • People and Climate Change: The Data Is In: Students interpret various forms of data (graphic, written, and visual) and identify relationships between population growth, greenhouse gas emissions, temperature rise, land ice melt, and sea level rise.
  • Scraps into Soil Lab: Students complete a lab activity to observe how organic and inorganic waste decomposes over time in a natural setting.
  • Market Research: Students visit the supermarket and investigate products’ containers and packaging options to determine which products would produce the least solid waste.
  • Secret Life of Stuff: Students compare the life cycle stages of four everyday products in order to hypothesize which item has the lowest environmental footprint, and then brainstorm possible improvements to one product’s life cycle to minimize its eco-impact.

Background Reading:

  • The Human Footprint: Air Pollution and Solid Waste – Trash, pollution, and emissions increase as human population grows and people become wealthier. Students investigate the relationship between people and waste and learn ways to reduce their footprint. Glossary included.

Summative Assessment:

  • A Pollution Solution – Students create an action plan to reduce the air pollution and/or solid waste impact of their school community. Rubric included.