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Classroom Resources

Available Online

Air Pollution: What's the Solution?
This educational project for students, grades 6 - 12, uses online real time data to guide student discovery of the science behind the causes and effects of outdoor air pollution. They’ll visit live web cams in various National Parks to capture air quality data, learn how wind transports air pollution, and even compare small particle pollution sources in Iowa compared to other states.

Air Quality Index (AQI) Toolkit 
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an important tool for letting children know when air quality in their area is unhealthy and how they, their families, and communities can protect their health. The AQI uses a color-coded scale and maps to provide daily air quality information.The Toolkit provides teachers with easy-to-use and engaging lesson plans, additional activities, and other resources to teach students about the connections between air quality, health, weather, and other related science topics, as well as actions students can take to protect their health and reduce air pollution.

An Introduction to Canoeing and Kayaking
This module is designed to acquaint students with basic information and skills for canoeing and kayaking on Iowa waters. This is a brief introduction to these outdoor activities. An annotated bibliography of additional resources related to teaching these concepts/skills is included at the end of the module.

An Introduction to Ice Fishing
Designed to introduce the angler to the winter sport of ice fishing; preparation,ice safety, equipment, and angling strategies for an ice fishing trip to a frozen pond or lake are discussed.

An Introduction to Fly-fishing  
Designed to introduce the angler to the basics of fly-fishing; basic equipment,assembly, and casting techniques are presented.

An Introduction to Outdoor Skills in Iowa
This module is designed to acquaint students with basic information about Iowa's natural resources; basics for recreating in the outdoors-safety, dress, ethics; and human interactions with natural resources. This is a very brief introduction to these concepts. An annotated bibliography of additional resources related to teaching these concepts/skills is included at the end of the module.

Climate Change Kit for High-School Students
High school students can investigate the link between everyday actions at their high school, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Using EPA's Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit (free, user- friendly, Excel-based program)students can learn about climate change, estimate their school’s greenhouse gas emissions and conceptualize ways to mitigate their school’s climate impact.  Students gain detailed understandings of climate-change drivers, impacts, and science; produce an emission inventory and action plan; and can even submit the results of their emission inventory to their school district.

Conservation Class Outlines
Five class outlines were developed for 9-12 Agriculture and Science teachers to provide a beginning point  to develop a conservation course. Four of the outlines (aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife) are related to the topics of the Conservation Districts of Iowa's (CDI) Envirothon program, while the fifth (invasive species) identifies a current conservation issue of concern in Iowa.

Conservation Education Resources in Iowa
This guide lists agencies and organizations related to natural resources that provide resources and information useful to educators. Federal agencies, state agencies, public universities, county conservation boards, and conservation organizations are included. (The list does not include all agencies and organizations.)

Corridors of Exploration: Iowa's Rivers
This activity guide includes activities that compare/contrast Iowa's current water quality and the quality of water when early explorers visited the state. Some activities are designed to promote problem solving skills, while others are designed for discovery and awareness. Eight rivers are included: Mississippi, Missouri, Boyer, Des Moines, Raccoon, Skunk, Cedar, and Big Sioux.

Educator's Guide To Air - The Search For One Clean Breath
Each of the nine lessons can be taught as a standalone lesson, altogether, and with the DVD. The lessons meet National Science Standards and have been tested in schools prior to this release.

Exploring Iowa's Natural Resources blog
Learn fun ways to incorporate natural resources into your classroom. A different environmental topic is featured each week.

Outdoor Explorations for Early Learners blog
Learn fun ways to incorporate nature into your early childhood classroom. Activities build on children's sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them.

Pond and Stream Mats
Two four-color drawings depict areas of a pond and stream. Each set of mats includes several plastic fish that can be placed in different areas to show where they can be found. Dry erase markers can also be used to draw or write on the mats. Each measure approximately 3 x 6 feet so they are large enough for several students to gather round. You can also project the pond and/or stream image on a whiteboard or smart board.

Check with your local county conservation board to see if they have the pond and stream mats to borrow. They are available for purchase at a cost of $150. 

Pond and stream mats can be used to introduce, reinforce, or assess understanding of ecological concepts covered in other aquatic education activities including Aquatic WILD (AW), Project WILD (PW), Fish Iowa! (FI), and Growing Up WILD (GUW)..                                                                           

Smog City
This interactive air pollution simulator shows how your choices, environmental factors, and land use contribute to air pollution. In Smog City you're in control so your visit can be a healthy or unhealthy experience depending on the decisions you make. You'll see how ground-level ozone, the biggest part of summertime smog, increases or decreases when you spend a day in Smog City

Trees For Kids and Trees For Teens
These educational programs teach students about the values of trees and encourage tree planting projects at Iowa schools and other public areas. Educational materials include lesson plans, bulletin boards, learning centers, and resource lists. The units are linked to the Iowa Core Curriculum and the multiple intelligences.

Teachers Going Green
A dynamic collection of lessons, resources, podcasts, and grant opportunities. Each lesson addresses a stated essential concept and skill from the Iowa and/or the Common Core State Standards.


Available by Request:
AIR: The SEARCH FOR ONE CLEAN BREATH: Tony Award®-winning actor Joe Mantegna narrates this film biography of air - the invisible character essential to all life. With state-of-the art animation and live action, take a guided tour of the story of air. Meet renowned scientists and scholars worldwide who are discovering the mysteries of air. From the beginning of time to the present, this voyage will take you to an 18th century British laboratory, the island nation of Iceland, and to a deserted steel mill in the Utah desert. You may check out this DVD by mail from the DNR Air Quality Bureau for one week. Contact DNR Air Quality at 515-725-9500.

Air Pollution Posters

  • Open Burning poster: Pollutants released into the air from burning garbage are illustrated as well as the consequences of breathing those pollutants.
  • Air Pollution Can trigger Asthma poster: Illustrates how air pollution affects the lungs and people’s ability to breathe.

Contact DNR Air Quality at 515-725-9500 to request these free posters. Multiple copies are available at no charge. Mailed in card board tubes.

Corridors of Exploration: Iowa's Rivers CD: includes information about the exploration of Iowa via our river corridors and provides opportunities to compare current river conditions/issues to those encountered by early explorers. It contains 11 activities for grades 4-8 which may be easily adapted for older students. The activities are correlated to the National Curriculum for Social Studies: Middle Schools. To request a FREE copy, email                   

Pollution Trading Cards: teachers can obtain the whole cast of Rogues Gallery educational trading cards for classroom use. These fun cards show five of the most common pollutants. The reverse gives a description of each ― the causes, sources and how kids and parents can reduce emissions. For free samples or free bulk copies, contact the Air Quality Bureau at 515-242-5100.

Taking ACTION: An Educator's Guide to Involving Students in Environmental Action Projects: inspires ideas and provides models for conducting effective environmental projects. This guide helps educators plan, implement, and evaluate environmental action projects. Samples of more than 30 projects are included. Iowa educators can order single copies from the Aquatic Education Program.

The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up: Ms. Frizzle’s class travel via their magical bus through a diesel engine to learn about pollution from school buses and what is being done to reduce diesel exhaust. The children learn about idle reduction and other ways the community can help reduce health risks from diesel exhaust. At the end of the book, the magic school bus is retrofitted with a diesel particulate filter. The books are available free of charge to schools, libraries, non-profit organizations and organizations conducting diesel education and outreach campaigns. Quantities are limited. Visit for ordering information.

The Plight of the Freshwater Mussel: Canaries of the Deep CD: provides an overview of the life cycle of freshwater mussels in Iowa, factors that threaten their existence, and ways we can work to improve water quality, so increase their chance of survival in Iowa waters. It is designed for general audiences from upper elementary through adult. To request a FREE copy, email