Lesson plans for your school's Big Breakfast

Is your school taking part in the Big Breakfast? Use this free lesson plan to help teach your students about air pollution and lung health, or have a look at some of our fun activities.

Lesson plan

Learning objectives By the end of the lesson students should be able to: Additional resources
  • Explain how the lungs work and how they help us to breathe
  • Recognise the impact of environmental factors (exercise, pollution, lifestyle) on the way their bodies function
  • Explain why air pollution is harmful to lungs and what we can do about it
Guidance completed with NUT about schools and pollution 
Curriculum objectives Pupils should be taught to:  
KS2  - Science
  • identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood
Animals, including humans
  • recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function
  • describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans
KS2 - English Pupils should be taught to plan their writing by  

Writing, composition

  • identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own


  • noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary
  • draft and write by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
  • perform their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear

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Part 1: How lungs work Put students into groups to make models of their lungs, explaining how the diaphragm and lungs work together to help us breathe. You could show them a model before asking them to follow the instructions set out on the Science Sparks website. Science Sparks
Optional add-in To help students understand how the heart and the lungs work together to make sure the different parts of the body get enough oxygen, ask them to do a series of exercises for 5 minutes e.g. 1 minute of star jumps, 1 minute of skipping, 1 minute running on the spot. When they have finished ask them to discuss all the different things their body is doing i.e. breathing faster, heart beating harder, red cheeks, feeling warmer and why that might be happening.  
Part 2: Sources of air pollution and solutions to the problem Ask students to think about where air pollution might come from and to think about the main components of air pollution i.e. particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. Use the linked British Lung Foundation sources on air pollution to explain common sources of air pollution to students and how these chemicals and particles contribute to air pollution. British Lung Foundation air pollution pdf.
  Explain how air pollution can make it more difficult for people with a lung condition e.g. asthma to breathe and the damage it can do to lungs. Encourage any students with asthma to talk about what their asthma feels like. You could give each student a straw to let each student experience what trying to breathe with a lung condition can feel like. Ask them to place the straw in their mouth and only breathe through this. They could make this more difficult by flattening the straw or biting down to narrow the straw. Remind students that if they feel uncomfortable or dizzy they should stop the exercise. British Lung Foundation resources on particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone.
British Lung Foundation resources on how air pollution affects your lungs.
Optional add-in Ask students to make a poster showing the different sources of air pollution they come across in their everyday lives, and ask them to brainstorm ways to avoid or reduce air pollution. Ask them to think about why it’s important for us to reduce air pollution in our towns and cities. Our downloadable infographic sheet about air pollution might be a good classroom aid. Download a poster
Optional add-in Ask students to write a letter to their local MP or the local council making the case that more needs to be done to combat air pollution, stating the reasons why. They could ask about what action is currently being taken and reference our campaign for clean air to protect growing lungs from air pollution or battle for breath report. Campaign for clean air
Battle for Breath report.

Guidance completed with NUT about schools and pollution