Utah Lesson Plans
Material Type:
Middle School, High School
  • Gale
  • UOL
  • UOL6-8
  • UOL9-12
  • Uollesson
  • Uolscience
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    Acid Rain

    Acid Rain


    This resource is a Science student activity that utilizes Utah's Online Library resources - specifically, Gale's Global Issues in Context, Gale's InfoTrac Newstand, and Gale's Science in Context to help students learn about acid rain and how humans can make better choices about our global environments. 

    About Utah’s Online Library

    Utah's Online Library provides Utah educators and students free access to high-quality reference collections such as EBSCO, Gale Reference Collection, World Book, eMedia, and LearningExpress Library.

    This activity was designed to help educators utilize this amazing resource in their classrooms.

    Note: Utah educators and students visiting Utah's Online Library from a school computer should be automatically authenticated. When at home, students must use the home access login that their teacher or school media specialist can provide. Utah educators can use either their my.uen login or the home access login.


    Essential Questions: How does acid rain affect animals, plants, air quality, and our environment in general? What part do humans play in acid rain? How can individuals, corporations, and worldwide governments make better choices about the global environment?

    Acid rain is also called toxic rain. It occurs when chemicals in the atmosphere mix with water vapor, and the resulting rain contains toxic chemicals. One of the most common causes of acid rain is the burning of fossil fuels which releases chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. When these combine with water vapor, they form sulfuric acid and nitric acid which then fall to the earth in the form of rain, fog, or dew.

    How does acid rain affect soil and the vegetation growing in that soil? How does it affect aquatic life? How does it affect worldwide animals? How have forest ecosystems been impacted as a result of toxic rain? What is its effect on untreated water in reservoirs?

    What part does acid rain play in damage to historic buildings? How has it affected statuary and monuments?

    Not all acid rain is caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

    What part do volcanoes play in the formation of acid rain? What parts of the world are the most vulnerable to acid rain?

    There are many resources in Utah's Online Library to help students research the far-reaching effects of toxic rain. Gale's Global Issues in Context has topic overviews, articles, and even images dealing with acid rain (you can see a picture of the effect that acid rain is having on the Taj Mahal). Gale's InfoTrac Newstand has hundreds of articles from around the world about toxic rain; when using this particular database, in terms of searching, acid rain is also referred to as acid deposition. Gale's Science in Context has videos, images, news articles, academic journal entries, experiments, etc.---all dealing with acid rain.


    Curriculum Connections:

    SEEd - Biology Core