Grade K-3 Keys to clean air | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools

Keys to clean air

Plant a herb in a pot and learn about how to keep the air clean in our community.

Activity Image
French included
1.3 hours
Hands on


Students learn that clean air is important to our planet and our health, and investigate what helps clean the air in our community. To do their part, students decorate a pot and plant a local herb.


What you'll need

  • "Keys to clean air" slideshow (French version available)
  • Sketch paper or camera
  • Terracotta pots or waxed lined coffee cups
  • Markers, paint, stickers
  • Potting soil and local herb seeds like basil, catnip or chive. 

Keys to clean air

  1. Pull up the "Keys to clean air" slideshow to explore how important clean air is to our health.
  2. On slides 2-7, ask students to pick which option is better for our health.
  3. The last few slides highlight what we can do to keep our air clean.

Spot the keys to clean air

  1. Get students ready to go outside by powering down the classroom (lights and projector off). You may want to invite a few parent volunteers along for the journey.
  2. Once outside, walk around the community and spot things that keep our air clean like trees and plants. Bring sketchpads or a camera to capture some of your findings for later class discussions.
  3. Find an interesting tree, hug it and “adopt it and name it” as a class explaining that we can plant trees but we also need to protect the trees we have.
  4. This is a great opportunity to practice the yoga tree pose.

Clean air seeds

  1. Hand out the terracotta pots or waxed lined coffee cups, potting soil seeds.
  2. Remind students that growing plants is a great way to help keep our air clean.
  3. Using markers, paints and stickers, students decorate their pots. Ideally you can do this outdoors. Once dry, help students put potting soil in their pot and then drop their seeds in. Discuss that a plant needs what we need to grow like water, sunlight and love.
  4. Students can their plant home or leave on the windowsill of the classroom and watch it grow.

Modify or extend this activity

  • As a class, discuss the fact that our transportation choices can affect our air quality so list the best ways to get to school.
  • Take action as a class and organize a school-wide “Walk, run or roll to school” campaign. Students can make posters and contribute to the morning announcements to promote the benefits of coming to school without a car. Have a prize for the top performing class.

Curriculum Fit

Our activities provide a link to the core competencies of the curriculum. The activities engage students in sharing ideas and solutions, using their energy for play, and exploring and caring for the environment through creative thinking, design and building.

Core competencies


  • Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas)
  • Acquire, interpret and present information (includes inquiries)


  • Creative thinking: generating ideas
  • Critical thinking: question and investigate

Social responsibility

  • Contributing to community and caring for the environment

The activities also connect to a variety of grade-specific curricular competencies and content in a variety of subjects including Physical and Health Education, Science, Social Studies and English Language Arts.

Teaching Notes

BC Hydro’s Environmental responsibility

BC Hydro uses the power of falling water to create clean, reliable electricity. BC Hydro has become a leading sustainable energy company by producing and delivering electricity, in environmentally and socially responsible ways. Check out Environmental responsibility for ways BC Hydro is protecting and sharing the resource. 

Young people can take action

Young people can play a part in the transportation decisions made in their homes. We can empower them using simple concepts of getting outside and encouraging them to explore, create and protect our environment.


  • Assess students’ ability to share ideas, listen to each other and take action.
  • Assess students’ participation and cooperation during the community walk.
  • Assess students’ understanding on how plants clean our air.


Select the materials needed in the language you require or download all

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