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English Culture Videos

“Air Pollution”

Pre-Listening Activities

Visual Learning:

  • Show students a picture of a city or area during an inversion, highlighting the hazy air and the trapped pollutants.
  • Ask them to describe what they see in the image and what they think might be causing the haze.

Auditory Learning:

  • Play a short audio clip of ambient sounds from a polluted city, such as car honks, sirens, and air pollution.
  • Have students listen carefully and jot down the sounds they hear. Then, discuss how these sounds relate to pollution and its effects on the environment.

Kinesthetic Learning:

  • Provide students with materials to create a simple diorama depicting an inversion, using cotton balls for clouds, construction paper for mountains, and small toy cars to represent pollution sources.
  • Ask them to arrange the materials to demonstrate how an inversion works and what happens to the pollutants trapped under the layer of warm air.

Reading/Writing Learning:

  • Give students a short reading passage summarizing the concept of inversions and their impact on air quality.
  • Have them underline key terms and phrases, then write a brief summary or explanation of what they’ve read.

Interactive Learning:

  • Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a scenario related to air pollution and its effects on health.
  • Ask them to brainstorm and discuss possible solutions to mitigate the impact of air pollution, considering factors like transportation, energy usage, and public health policies.

Vocabulary and Expressions

inversion (noun): a weather phenomenon where a layer of warm air traps cooler air below, often leading to increased pollution levels

  • The city experienced an inversion, causing the pollution to become trapped near the ground.
  • During an inversion, it’s important to limit outdoor activities to avoid breathing in polluted air.

restrict (verb): to limit or control something

  • The teacher restricted the use of electronic devices during class.
  • To lose weight, you may need to restrict your intake of sugary snacks.

respiratory (adjective): relating to breathing or the respiratory system

  • Smoking can lead to respiratory problems such as lung cancer and emphysema.
  • During flu season, it’s important to practice good respiratory hygiene, such as covering your mouth when you cough.

recess (noun): a break or period of free time, especially for children during school hours

  • The students eagerly awaited recess so they could play outside.
  • Due to bad weather, the teacher decided to have indoor recess instead of outdoor playtime.

pollutant (noun): a substance that contaminates the environment, typically causing harm to living organisms

  • Carbon monoxide is a common pollutant emitted by vehicles.
  • The factory was fined for releasing pollutants into the nearby river.

Instructions: Watch this video on air pollution and answer the questions. Then, read the script at the bottom of the page.

Video Script

Hi. I’m Randall, and I’m here above Utah County in Utah, and you can see all of the hazy air behind me, air that has been trapped by an inversion, or cold air trapped by warmer air above it, and then all of the pollutants from cars and fireplaces. And the only way for this to be swept out is through, uh, perhaps by strong winds coming through.

And during these times, people with respiratory issues including asthma should, uh, limit the amount of time they stay outside. Children at schools are often kept inside for recess, and also people should restrict the amount of driving and take public transportation, so this gets cleaned out.

Online Investigations and Discussion Questions


  1. What is air pollution, and how does it impact our health and the environment?
  2. Can you name some common sources of air pollution in urban areas?
  3. What are some visible signs that indicate poor air quality in a city?
  4. Discuss the different types of air pollutants and their sources. How do these pollutants affect human health and ecosystems?
  5. How do weather conditions, such as inversions and temperature inversions, influence the dispersion and accumulation of air pollutants?
  6. What are some technological innovations or policies that have been effective in reducing air pollution in urban areas?


  1. Analyze the socio-economic factors that contribute to disparities in exposure to air pollution among different communities. How can environmental justice principles be applied to address these disparities?
  2. Explore the global impact of air pollution on climate change and public health. How do international agreements like the Paris Agreement address air quality concerns?
  3. Evaluate the role of individual behaviors versus systemic changes in addressing air pollution. What are the challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainable practices and policies to mitigate air pollution on a global scale?
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