Drive Clean Texas

Content begins here

Unit 1: What Is Air Pollution?

This unit begins with an explanation of how carbon dioxide impacts the environment. The students will collect trip logs and discuss trip-saving measures.

In the second lesson, students will identify their own transportation patterns and begin to consider the social and environmental costs and benefits associated with different modes of travel.

In the third lesson, the transportation and air pollution glossary introduces students to terms commonly associated with air pollution.

Subjects Addressed:

English, Language Arts, and Reading; Mathematics; Science; and Social Studies

This unit is designed to offer you maximum flexibility. The lessons can be taught as a whole, or individual lessons and activities may be extracted and taught separately as a complement to other materials you may be using.

Please see downloadable activities in each lesson for all TEKs covered.

Lesson 1 – Transportation and the Environment: Impacts, Choices, and Results

Today, people travel much more than in the past. Whether by rockets or rollerblades, energy of one form or another is required, and these different forms of energy affect our environment in different ways. As this lesson progresses, students will become aware of the ways they move themselves around, what forms of energy they use, and the impact of their transportation choices on the environment. Students will learn that the burning of fossil fuels plays a major role in polluting our air and changing the world's climate. They should also realize that there are alternatives that are better for the environment.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Personal Transportation Log (PDF, 197 KB)
Personal Transportation Log and Analysis (PDF, 287 KB)
Sample Class Chart (PDF, 25 KB)
Transportation Log Review Questions (PDF, 287 KB)
Activity 2 – Transportation System (PDF, 190 KB)
Transportation System Information and Worksheet (PDF, 174 KB)
Technology Systems Worksheet (PDF, 181 KB)
Transportation System Review Questions (PDF, 110 KB)

Lesson 2 – Transportation and Air Pollution Glossary

Concerns over air quality have resulted in an increase in media coverage. Students are constantly exposed to terms related to air pollution but may be unfamiliar with many of them. This lesson contains a glossary with many of the words students may have seen when reading the newspaper or watching the news.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Transportation Glossary (PDF, 107 KB)
Transportation and Air Pollution Glossary (PDF, 86 KB)

Unit 2: Transportation and Air Pollution: Impacts and Consequences

While evaluating a timeline of events related to the development of the automobile, students will begin to see how social pressures, economic influence, governmental action, and technology affected the development of our transportation systems. As a part of the discussion they will realize that the challenge of reducing pollution from our transportation systems is an ongoing struggle and that, although much has been accomplished, much needs to be done.

Through research, students will then become familiar with the environmental and health effects of the six criteria pollutants identified by the U.S. EPA, along with the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Although student information handouts are supplied, we recognize that many students are more motivated to conduct research if they have to do a little digging themselves. For this reason we have also supplied a list of Internet sites containing sound information on this topic. Alternatively, you may want to assign this as a library research project or use a computer-based encyclopedia.

Subjects Addressed:

English, Language Arts, and Reading; Science; Social Studies; and Health Education

This unit is designed to offer you maximum flexibility. The lessons can be taught as a whole, or individual lessons and activities may be extracted and taught separately as a complement to other materials you may be using.

Please see downloadable activities in each lesson for all TEKs covered.

Lesson 1 – Who's "Driving" Change: The History of American Transportation and Designing for a Sustainable Future

While evaluating a timeline of events related to the development of the automobile, students will begin to see how social pressures, economic influence, governmental action, and technology affected the development of our transportation systems.

During the activity they will place themselves in the shoes of their grandparents and parents. They will then step back into their own shoes and use what they have learned to form predictions about where the development of our transportation systems may go.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Designing for a Sustainable Future (PDF, 122 KB)
Who’s Driving Change Information Worksheet (PDF, 258 KB)
A History of Transportation and the Environment (PDF, 308 KB)

Lesson 2 – Air Pollution and Health

Students will become familiar with the environmental and health effects of the six criteria pollutants identified by the U.S. EPA, along with the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Air Pollution and Health (PDF, 151 KB)
Adverse Effects of Automobile Emissions (PDF, 879 KB)
A History of Transportation and the Environment (PDF, 308 KB)

Unit 3: Automania: Driving Clean Today

Driving less, carpooling, and finding alternatives to driving are important, air-friendly actions. This unit includes lessons that emphasize the importance of changing the way we think about transportation and the way we use our vehicles.

Lesson one explains the concept of ridesharing and demonstrates the impact ridesharing (driving less) can have on the environment. Lesson two builds upon concepts gained in lesson one by explaining what carpooling is. Students study the extent it occurs in our community and learn how to set up a carpooling network. Lesson three pulls several "drive less" concepts together and culminates with students planning an environmentally sound outing that requires the use of several modes of travel. This unit debunks the idea students may have that driving alone in a vehicle is the sole and best way to get where they're going.

Subjects Addressed:

English, Language Arts, and Reading; Mathematics; Science; Social Studies; and Health Education

This unit is designed to offer you maximum flexibility. The lessons can be taught as a whole, or individual lessons and activities may be extracted and taught separately as a complement to other materials you may be using.

Please see downloadable activities in each lesson for all TEKs covered.

Lesson 1 – What is Ridesharing?

Objectives:

Activity 1 – What is Ridesharing? (PDF, 140 KB)
Transportation and Air Pollution Glossary (PDF, 86 KB)

Lesson 2 – Carpooling and the Environment

As we have seen, the automobile offers personal convenience and independence. But we have also seen some of the negative consequences that continue to threaten our health and our environment. Although carpooling won't eliminate these impacts, it provides a way for citizens to begin to address some of them as individuals.

In this lesson students will explore the concept of carpooling, and they will conduct a data-gathering study to learn how much carpooling occurs in their community. The survey conducted is of rush-hour vehicle occupancy in students' neighborhoods to estimate the percent of people carpooling. They compare this estimate with U.S. census data and calculate how much carpoolers reduce pollution in their town. This activity shows students how personal choices can have far-reaching effects on the entire community. Using a local map, students will design a carpool plan that most efficiently transports each classmate from their home to the school for a hypothetical event.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Research and Discussion (PDF, 136 KB)
Neighborhood Carpool Survey Worksheet (PDF, 128 KB)
Activity 2 – In-Class Data Analysis. Examining Your Community Patterns (PDF, 139 KB)
Neighborhood Carpool Survey Analysis (PDF, 385 KB)
Activity 3 – Mapping, Design, and Presentation. Carpool Challenge (PDF, 147 KB)
Activity 4 – Writing. For or Against (PDF, 133 KB)

Lesson 3 – Intermodal Challenge: Getting Around clean and Green

Intermodalism refers to the transporting of people, goods, or services using a variety of travel modes. Travel modes include anything from walking, skating, and rowing to riding bicycles, horses, subways, buses, cars, and airplanes.

This lesson is designed to open students' eyes to the possibilities that exist for getting around without just driving. Students will use mapping skills and will have to consider the environmental impacts of the decisions they make during the activity. They will then plan an environmentally sound outing that requires the use of several modes of travel.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Travel Guide (PDF, 132 KB)
A Travel Guide for Your Community Information Worksheet (PDF, 196 KB)
Rubric (PDF, 71 KB)
Pollution by Mode of Travel (PDF, 11 KB)
Design a travel Guide Entry (PDF, 91 KB)

Unit 4: We Have to Breathe This Air: Alternative Vehicles Can Make a Difference

Air pollution is considered by the American Lung Association to be the number one health threat to Americans today. To many people air pollution is associated with smokestacks and industry, but in many cities the automobile is the single greatest polluter, with up to 90 percent of the urban air pollution caused by the automobile. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, driving a private car is probably the most polluting daily activity for most people.

The first lesson in this unit compares the pollution from vehicles powered by different fuels. Then students create their "dream vehicle" and look at the energy and environmental consequences of their decisions.

Subjects Addressed:

English, Language Arts, and Reading; Mathematics; and Science

This unit is designed to offer you maximum flexibility. The lessons can be taught as a whole, or individual lessons and activities may be extracted and taught separately as a complement to other materials you may be using.

Please see downloadable activities in each lesson for all TEKs covered.

Lesson 1 – We Have to Breathe This Air?

This lesson is designed to teach students the environmental impacts of various modes of transportation, as well as the impacts of various fuels used in vehicles or in power plants.

Students can work individually or in small groups to read the charts and answer the questions. Students may need assistance in reading the charts but should do as much as possible without teacher input.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – We Have to Breathe This Air? (PDF, 126)
Student Activity Sheets (PDF, 362 KB)

Lesson 2 – Reinventing Your Wheels

In this lesson, students will learn about the different fuels and how they work differently in vehicles in terms of efficiency and performance. They will learn how an electric car and internal combustion work. Then they will complete a puzzle that is a design of a vehicle. They will present their designs to the class, evaluate their vehicles for the effects on society and the environment, and revise their designs if they wish.

Objectives:

Activity 1 – Reinventing Your Wheels (PDF, 123 KB)
Make a Difference (PDF, 140 KB)
Create Your Own Car (PDF, 359 KB)
Transportation and Air Pollution Glossary (PDF, 86 KB)

Acknowledgements

On behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Drive Clean Texas (DCT) would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their thoroughly and thoughtfully produced educational material.

DCT personnel searched the nation's wealth of air quality educational material and selected a number of high quality units and lessons to use in the creation of the DCT curriculum. As a campaign funded by TxDOT, TCEQ, and the Federal Highway Administration, we searched for material relevant to transportation-related air quality. Many of these lessons are presented as they were originally conceived. However, in an effort to localize the air quality curriculum to Texas and to better fit the lessons to DCT campaign messages, some changes have been made. We invite you to visit the websites listed below for original content. The individuals and organizations below have also been credited within the lessons where appropriate.

Go to Top >

Back to Teaching Materials >

Vehicle replacement assistance

Just for kids

Report a smoking vehicle

Just for teachers

Get Started. RoadCents. Drive clean and save money.