Unit Acid Rain

Window with rain drops
Rain drops
Copyright © Flicker


Acid rain is an environmental issue caused by air pollution. This unit explores how acid rain forms through chemical reactions involving pollutants and water molecules in the air. Students model and discuss the harmful effects of acid rain on our living and non-living environment, and how engineering approaches help reduce the effects of acid rain.

Engineering Connection

Environmental and chemical engineers examine pollutants to help them determine the kind of impact it may have on human health and the environment. For example, the effects of acid rain include damage to water, wildlife, plants, forests, crops, buildings, statues, bridges and vehicles. In response, engineers develop useful technologies to alleviate pollution sources, such as catalytic converters that remove certain poisonous gases from vehicle exhaust fumes.


Get the inside scoop on all things TeachEngineering such as new site features, curriculum updates, video releases, and more by signing up for our newsletter!
PS: We do not share personal information or emails with anyone.

Unit Schedule

Suggested activity order:

More Curriculum Like This

Upper Elementary Lesson
Acids, Bases & Acid Rain: Not So Neutral Views

Students are introduced to acids and bases, and the environmental problem of acid rain. Students also conduct a simple experiment to model and discuss the harmful effects of acid rain on our living and non-living environment.

Upper Elementary Activity
Acid and Base Rainbows

Students are introduced to the differences between acids and bases and how to use indicators, such as pH paper and red cabbage juice, to distinguish between them. They learn why it is important for engineers to understand acids and bases.

Upper Elementary Lesson
What's Air Got to Do with It? Properties & Quality

Students are introduced to the concepts of air pollution, air quality, and climate change. The three lesson parts (including the associated activities) focus on the prerequisites for understanding air pollution. First, students use M&M® candies to create pie graphs that express their understanding o...

Middle School Lesson
Introduction to Environmental Engineering

Students are presented with examples of the types of problems that environmental engineers solve, specifically focusing on air and land quality issues.


© 2020 by Regents of the University of Colorado

Last modified: November 17, 2020

Free K-12 standards-aligned STEM curriculum for educators everywhere.
Find more at TeachEngineering.org