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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Biology, Civics, History, Health

Resource Types

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 37 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Reduction of Air Pollutants

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  • This video outlines the history of the Clean Air Act and how it has helped improve air quality in the United States by limiting harmful pollutants. 
  • Personal and systemic actions that can help improve air quality are presented, including reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, investing in clean energy, and conserving energy in daily life. 
  • The video specifically emphasizes electric and hybrid vehicles as a way to reduce air pollution. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video gives actionable steps students can take in their daily life to help keep our air clean.
  • The interactive quiz allows students to test their understanding with immediate feedback.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Standards for AP Environmental Science are included under the video.
  • There is a time-stamped transcript available for students to follow along, as well as closed captioning and subtitles.


  • In a civics class, students could further research the impact of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, or identify other policies or government agencies that help protect the environment.
  • The video shares the story of a specific town's experience with air pollution. Students could use this as inspiration to research how their community has been affected by air pollution.
  • Biology and health classes could investigate the negative health effects of air pollution using the story of Donora as an example.
  • Other stories of air pollution in specific areas include this video about the Bronx and this lesson about Illinois.
  • Other resources related to air pollution include the map World's Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index and the lesson Comparing Air Quality Index and Cities: Finding Patterns in Data.
Scientist Notes
This 7-minute video presents the history of air pollution regulations in the United States, starting with a major pollution event in Donora, PA that killed 20 people. It walks through the history of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act and highlights additional strategies that can be used to further reduce air pollution. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Social Studies
    • Civics & Government
      • Civics & Government 1 (D1): Students understand the ideals, purposes, principles, structures, and processes of constitutional government in the United States and in the American political system, as well as examples of other forms of government and political systems in the world by evaluating and comparing the relationship of citizens with government in the United States and other regions of the world.
    • History
      • History 1 (D2): Students understand major eras, major enduring themes, and historic influences in United States and world history, including the roots of democratic philosophy, ideals, and institutions in the world by analyzing and critiquing major historical eras: major enduring themes, turning points, events, consequences, and people in the history of the world and the implications for the present and future.
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