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What’s in the Air

Acid Rain Discussion Questions

  1. Why does the National Park Service collect information about acid rain?
  2. What are some of the natural and manmade causes of acid rain?
  3. What impact does acid rain have on the environment, including aquatic life and plants?
  4. What impact does acid rain have on manmade objects?
  5. What is the Environmental Protection Agency doing to attempt to reduce acid rain?
  6. Do you think “cap and trade” is a good policy? Why or why not?
  7. Do you think that requiring car manufacturers to produce a higher percentage of cars with zero emissions is a good idea? Why or why not?
  8. Do you think reducing acid rain is important? Why or why not?
  9. What can individuals do to reduce acid rain?
science

Show the video segment on acid rain. Before showing the video, give students handout sheets with the discussion questions so they can make notes as they watch. After showing the video discuss the questions as a class or in small groups. If using small groups, have each group present a summary of its discussion verbally or in writing.

Extension: Project the maps showing precipitation and hydrogen ion concentrations as pH found at the National Parks Service web site. Ask students to speculate on the reasons that Kentucky and the eastern half of the United States have a higher incidence of acid rain deposition than the middle of the country. Follow up with research (Note: These maps reflect measurements made in 1996. Overall acid rain incidence has been reduced since this map was created, but the relative concentration of acid rainfall in different parts of the country is essentially the same today as it was in 1996.)

Additional resources: The National Park Service web site includes background information and lesson plans on acid rain.

Especially relevant are Activity 4 How acid rain is measured and monitored in the U.S. and Activity 5 Understanding weather maps and the importance of storm tracking

Hamilton County (Ohio) Department of Environmental Services has a particularly relevant acid rain lesson, Acids Eating My Nose, that demonstrates the effect of acid rain on limestone.

Standards:

SC-H-STM-U-7—Students will understand that chemical reactions have a variety of essential real-world applications, such as oxidation and various metabolic processes.

SC-H-STM-S-11—Students will relate the structure of water to its function as the universal solvent.

SC-H-STM-S-14—Students will explore real-life applications of a variety of chemical reactions (e.g., acids and bases, oxidation, rusting, tarnishing) and communicate findings/present evidence in an authentic form (transactive writing, public speaking, multimedia presentations).

SC-H-STM-U-9— Students will understand that accurate record-keeping, openness and replication are essential for maintaining credibility with other scientists and society.

SC-H-ET-U-13—Students will understand that technology affects society because it solves practical problems and serves human needs.

SC-H-I-U-1—Students will understand that human beings are part of the Earth’s ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.

SC-H-I-U-2—Students will understand that unique among organisms, humans have the capability to impact other species on a global scale both directly (e.g. selective breeding, genetic engineering, foreign species introductions) and indirectly (e.g. habitat crowding, pollution, climate change).

SC-H-I-S-1—Students will explore ways to eradicate or lessen environmental problems caused by human interaction (e.g., examine programs for habitat restoration or wildlife protection, automotive/industrial emissions standards).

SC-H-I-S-7—Students will explore the causes, consequences and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary and emerging global issues relating to environmental quality.

SS-H-GC-S-3—Students will investigate the rights of individuals (e.g., Freedom of Information Act, free speech, civic responsibilities in solving global issues) to explain how those rights can sometimes be in conflict with the responsibility of the government to protect the “common good” (e.g., homeland security issues, environmental regulations, censorship, search and seizure), the rights of others (e.g., slander, libel), and civic responsibilities (e.g., personal belief/responsibility versus civic responsibility

tech

Show all five video segments from Mammoth Cave National Parks. After showing them, as a class discuss:

  • What air quality factors are measured at Mammoth Cave and why?
  • How does the quality of air in a park affect the enjoyment of the park by visitors?
  • Are there also safety and health issues involved?
  • Is it important to protect park species such as the bats?

Then divide students into four groups and assign each group one of the air factors discussed in the video segments: acid rain, visibility, mercury, and ozone. Each group will research this air factor and create a class presentation on what they find. The presentation should define the air quality factors and identify its source; summarize its impact; and describe efforts to reduce that impact. If possible, the presentation should compare the level of which the air factor is a concern at Mammoth Cave with that of other national parks or areas. Each presentation should include images and at least one chart or graph. The presentations may be in the form of PowerPoint presentations, video presentations, or multimedia presentations as technology availability and teacher/student preferences allow.

Note: Students will find extensive resources and information, including comparative charts of air quality monitoring in national parks at the National Parks Service web site. [link to http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/index.cfm] Encourage them to use at least one additional resource as well.

Standards:

T-H-RIPSI-U-2—Students will understand that technology can assist in researching, analyzing and evaluating information obtained from a variety of sources to answer an essential question across all content areas.

SC-H-STM-U-2—Students will understand that an enormous variety of biological, chemical and physical phenomena can be explained by changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.

SC-H-STM-S-11—Students will relate the structure of water to its function as the universal solvent.

SC-H-STM-S-14—Students will explore real-life applications of a variety of chemical reactions (e.g., acids and bases, oxidation, rusting, tarnishing) and communicate findings/present evidence in an authentic form (transactive writing, public speaking, multimedia presentations).

SC-H-BC-S-5— Students will predict the likelihood of survival for a variety of existing species based upon predicted changes in environmental conditions (e.g., global warming, continental drift) and propose methods to prevent the extinction of species with insufficient ability to adapt.

SC-H-ET-S-13—Students will use weather data to model the complex interactions responsible for weather and climate.

SC-H-I-S-7—Students will explore the causes, consequences and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary and emerging global issues relating to environmental quality.

 

A Poet’s View

Ultima Thule Discussion Questions

  1. How did your experience of hearing these poems read by the author differ from the experience of reading a poem?
  2. Read one of the poems “out loud” in your mind. Then listen again to McCombs reading it. Did he use the same inflections and emphasis that you did?
  3. How was the experience of the poetry affected by adding the visual images of the park?
  4. Discuss the images in “Bottomless Pit.” (Reread the poem if necessary.) What emotions does it express from Bishop’s perspective? How do you think you would feel with your legs “dangling into blackness”? How would you feel if you discovered a new species of animals “as if from another world” and no one believed you? How would you feel when you presented them with the proof? How would your feelings have differed if you had these experiences when you were enslaved, considered the property of another man?
  5. Why did McCombs decide to write this poem in the first person from the perspective of Stephen Bishop? Would it have been as powerful if he had written about Stephen’s experiences in the third person?
  6. Reread “Cave Wind.” Find the definitions of unfamiliar words. Some words like “fricative” have multiple meanings. Which meaning(s) are intended in this context? Does understanding the words enhance your appreciation of the poem?
  7. Discuss the images used in “Cave Wind.” What does a cave wind tell explorers about the world they are about to enter? What does McCombs mean by the question “does it go or siphon?” What about the phrase “the breadth/of its breath?”
  8. How do you react to the image of creeping “through/the throat of the long-winded earth?”
  9. Have you ever experienced a “magical” time when you were writing as McCombs did when he wrote the series of poems form Stephen Bishop's perspective?
  10. What do you think of “Ultima Thule” as the title of McCombs’ collection of poetry?
writing

Show one or both of the video segments. Introduce the segments by either having students read the background essay or by sharing the information it contains. After watching the video segments, as a class discuss the questions. Conclude by having students write a personal response or reflection to one or both of the poems.

Standards:

El-11-DIU-S-6—Students will demonstrate understanding of literary elements and literary passages/texts
analyze the use of supporting details as they relate to the author’s message;
analyze the relationship between a character’s motivation and behavior, as revealed by the dilemmas; explain author’s craft as appropriate to genre (e.g., metrics, rhyme scheme, analogy, symbolism, allusion, soliloquy).

El-11-IT-U-3—Students will understand that authors make intentional choices that are designed to produce a desired effect on the reader.

EL-11-IT-S-3—Students will use text references to explain author’s purpose, author’s message or theme (including universal themes), arguments and supporting evidence.

EL-11-RRT-U-1—Students will understand that making connections involves thinking beyond the text and applying the text to a variety of situations. Connections may be expressed as comparisons, analogies, inferences, or the synthesis of ideas.

EL-11-RRT-S-5—Students will demonstrate participation in a literate community by sharing and responding to ideas and connections with others through writing and in-depth discussions about texts.

EL-11-DCS-S-6—Students will analyze the effectiveness of literary devices or figurative language in evoking what the author intended (e.g., picturing a setting, predicting a consequence, establishing a mood or feeling).

EL-11-WC-S-3—Students will write for a variety of authentic purposes and audiences:

  • analyze and communicate the significance of a relationship, one’s own experience and/or the experiences of others
  • analyze and communicate through authentic literary forms to make meaning of the human condition (e.g., short stories, poetry, plays/scripts)
writing

Divide students into teams of “literary investigators.” Ask each team to find at least three examples of Davis McCombs’ use of literary elements (e.g., symbolism, irony, analogies, imagery, similes, metaphors or alliteration) to express meaning both literal and non-literal. Ask them to discuss both the meaning and the effectiveness of these elements, allowing for respectful differences of opinion. Ask each student individually to write a paragraph identifying one literary element the poet used that they considered especially effective and to interpret its meaning to them.

Standards:

El-11-IT-U-3—Students will understand that authors make intentional choices that are designed to produce a desired effect on the reader.

EL-11-IT-S-3—Students will use text references to explain author’s purpose, author’s message or theme (including universal themes), arguments and supporting evidence.

EL-11-RRT-U-1—Students will understand that making connections involves thinking beyond the text and applying the text to a variety of situations. Connections may be expressed as comparisons, analogies, inferences, or the synthesis of ideas.

EL-11-RRT-S-5—Students will demonstrate participation in a literate community by sharing and responding to ideas and connections with others through writing and in-depth discussions about texts.

EL-11-DCS-S-6—Students will analyze the effectiveness of literary devices or figurative language in evoking what the author intended (e.g., picturing a setting, predicting a consequence, establishing a mood or feeling).

arts

If at all possible, take students to a place of natural beauty. This could be a nearby park, lake, or other scenic spot. Before going, discuss the type of landforms, vegetation, or other natural elements they will see, providing them with some of the specialized vocabulary that would be used by scientists, hikers, cavers, or other nature enthusiasts in describing what they will see. Invite them to bring cameras and/or borrow a digital camera from the school. Also have students bring sketch books, note pads, and art materials. (You could make this a collaborative venture with the school art, music, drama, dance, or arts and humanities teachers.)

If there is a guided tour available at your natural location, take it. If not, provide a guided tour yourself or invite someone like your local county extension agent to help you. Provide time for students to respond to the site by writing, taking pictures, or creating art works. Remind them that they do not need to create completed pieces during the field trip. Your purpose is to collect impressions, reactions, descriptions, and emotional responses that they can further develop back at school.

Back at school, share the images and words that students recorded or created. Provide time (in class or as an assignment) for students to create poems, visual art works, dramatic monologues or skits, or dance sequences that express their thoughts and feelings. Allow time for sharing.

Modification: If it is not possible to take students on a field trip, use Ken Burns’ series about the National Parks and/or virtual tours and multimedia experiences at the National Parks Service web site to provide students with a simulated experience.

Extension: Create a class book, Power Point, digital movie, or other collection of students’ work. Present it to other classes or make it available at the school media center.

Standards:

EL-11-WV-S-1—Students will choose precise and descriptive language for clarity, richness and/or its effect on the reader (words with multiple meanings, words that imply different shades of meaning, words with literal and non-literal meanings, foreign words/phrases, strong nouns and verbs, concrete and sensory details, figurative language – metaphors, paradox, allusion, hyperbole).

EL-11-WV-S-2—Students will use specialized content vocabulary and words used for specific contexts, as needed.

EL-11-WS-S-3—Students will apply structures of a variety of academic and work-related texts (e.g., essay, narrative, poetry, memoir, article, job application, memo, proposal) for authentic and justifiable purposes.

EL-11-WC-S-3—Students will write for a variety of authentic purposes and audiences:

  • analyze and communicate the significance of a relationship, one’s own experience and/or the experiences of others
  • analyze and communicate through authentic literary forms to make meaning of the human condition (e.g., short stories, poetry, plays/scripts).

AH-HS-PCA-U-3—Students will understand that the arts provide forms of nonverbal communication that can strengthen the presentation of ideas and emotions.

AH-HS-PCA-S-VA2—Students will create new, select, choose and experience artworks created to fulfill a variety of specific purposes.

writing

Discuss Davis McCombs’ idea to write poetry from the perspective of Stephen Bishop. Draw attention to the fact that McCombs did not attempt to imagine what Bishop’s actual words or manner of expression might be, but instead used his own voice to write what he imagined Stephen Bishop's might have thought or felt.

Also draw attention to the fact that McCombs concentrates each poem on one specific aspect or experience of Bishop’s life. Read a few other poems from the book Ultima Thule and talk about what experience each poem represents.

Ask each student to write a poem from the perspective of another person. This could be as broad as “from the perspective of someone you admire” or as specific as “from the perspective of a literary figure of the Romantic period” or some other group of people you might be studying.

Extension: Ask students to write a poem about the person rather than from the person’s perspective. Ask them to reflect on the two writing experiences.

Standards:

EL-11-WC-S-9—Students will use and sustain suitable voice or tone.

EL-11-WV-S-1—Students will choose precise and descriptive language for clarity, richness and/or its effect on the reader (words with multiple meanings, words that imply different shades of meaning, words with literal and non-literal meanings, foreign words/phrases, strong nouns and verbs, concrete and sensory details, figurative language — metaphors, paradox, allusion, hyperbole).

EL-11-WV-S-2—Students will use specialized content vocabulary and words used for specific contexts, as needed.

EL-11-WS-S-3—Students will apply structures of a variety of academic and work-related texts (e.g., essay, narrative, poetry, memoir, article, job application, memo, proposal) for authentic and justifiable purposes.

EL-11-WC-S-3—Students will write for a variety of authentic purposes and audiences:

  • analyze and communicate the significance of a relationship, one’s own experience and/or the experiences of others
  • analyze and communicate through authentic literary forms to make meaning of the human condition (e.g., short stories, poetry, plays/scripts).

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