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K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Health

Resource Types

  • Ebooks, 17 pages
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




The Air We Breathe

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  • This illustrated short story introduces the concept of Earth's atmosphere to an elementary school audience and provides instructions for an in-class demonstration.
  • The storybook describes the importance of the atmosphere in supporting life on Earth and how it is affected by pollution.
  • The story ends with a demonstration that helps students visualize an otherwise invisible gas using vinegar and baking soda.
Teaching Tips


  • Excellent illustrations are provided in this storybook to assist in students understanding complex topics.
  • The book is concise and sticks closely to the topic of Earth's atmosphere and the air humans breathe.
  • The experiment at the end is easily done in a classroom with limited materials and can help students visualize the topic.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with terms like air, gases, Earth, and oxygen.
  • You may want to pre-teach terms such as atmosphere, molecules, gases, and ozone.


  • Consider printing the book on large paper for students to have space to annotate in the margins.
  • Physical models of an oxygen molecule and the Earth may be helpful in explaining science topics in the storybook.
  • After reading the story as a class, have students partner up and review the story together to identify any questions they may still have.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a picture book developed by NASA that very simply explains what the atmosphere is. While the metaphors are not perfectly scientifically sound, the overall information is accurate. In addition, the included experiment demonstrates how most gasses are invisible to our eyes. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.PP.1.5 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
      • RI.IT.2.3 Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in a sequence within a text.
      • RI.MF.2.6 Explain how specific illustrations and images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
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