Smog Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Photochemical smog is a secondary pollutant that affects urban areas worldwide. This lesson plan offers an approach to teaching students about the causes and effects of smog.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define smog
  • explain how smog is created
  • explain the effects of smog


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.



Activity - Mystery Piece

  • Prior to class, cover the exhaust pipe of a car with a clean white cotton sock. Be sure to do this when the car is cool, and this will work better on an older car. Run the car for a minute or two, then shut it off and remove the sock when the tail pipe has cooled. There should be visible signs of the pollutants from the exhaust on the sock.
  • Display the sock in a prominent location, such as on a bulletin board, and invite students to examine it at the beginning of class. Do not tell them what caused the marks on the sock, but let them investigate and use the magnifying glass to make their observations.
  • Have students write down their theories about the sock on index cards and collect those cards before moving on to the next part of the lesson.

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