Ozone is a major problem in the Houston area, and children are particularly sensitive to ozone pollution. Ozone Theater has engaged over 14,000 students in 800 classrooms across five counties.

Air Pollution and Children’s Health

Children are particularly susceptible to the health effects of ozone pollution. Too much ozone in the air we breathe can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, watery eyes, and scratchy throats. It can impair lung development in children, trigger asthma attacks, and intensify allergic reactions. Ozone pollution can even lead to cardiac arrest and premature death.

Children suffer more than adults from the health consequences of ozone air pollution because:

  • Their lungs and immune systems are still developing.
  • Pound for pound, they breathe in 50% more air than adults.
  • They tend to spend more time outdoors than adults, especially during the summer, when ozone levels are highest.
  • They tend to participate in more vigorous outdoor activities than most adults.

How Does Ozone Theater Work?

  • Teachers, administrators, and other educators can book Ozone Theater for FREE!
  • A teaching artist will come to your classroom and lead a thirty five minute workshop that uses drama-based educational techniques to teach students about air pollution. Students get up on their feet and move around the classroom as they act out situations related to air pollution.
  • Three age-appropriate curricula are aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives in science, health, language arts, and fine arts.
  • Teachers receive an Activity Guide for their classroom that is full of reinforcement and follow up activities including science experiments, creative projects, puzzles, games, and instructions on how to get up-to-date information on ozone levels in their area.
  • Qualifying schools can also earn a set of Ozone Warning Flags to display the daily ozone forecast to their community.

What is Drama-Based Education?

  • Drama-based education employs theater techniques to get students out of their chairs, away from their desks, moving around the classroom, and actively engaging with the material that they’re learning. The essential element of activating the students’ bodies, voices, and imaginations can be applied to any and all academic disciplines. This type of teaching creates equal learning opportunities for all kinds of learners regardless of age, race, language, and learning style.
  • Studies have shown that the use of drama-based education motivates students to be more excited about learning, minimizes disruptive behavior in the classroom, and improves information retention as proven by increased test scores. Ozone Theater teaching artists employ pre- and post-tests to demonstrate the learning involved in the program, and teachers evaluate each workshop to ensure the persistence of quality.
  • Ozone Theater was developed in 2003 by Mothers for Clean Air (now Air Alliance Houston) in collaboration with the Theater Outreach and Education program at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

 Who Recommends Ozone Theater?

Ozone Theater has received numerous awards, including:

  • The Clean Air Excellence Award  from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The President’s Cabinet Award from University of Texas Medical Branch.
  • A Mayor’s Proud Partner Certificate of Recognition from the City of Houston.

Ozone Theater is also recommended by educators who have booked our programs in the past:

  • “After school, as we were waiting for parents to pick students up, I heard a couple of kids talk about the bus’s tail pipe and pollution. I think they got it.”  -Houston ISD Elementary School Teacher
  • “We had fun learning from the leader’s positive, innovative techniques. The students did gain new knowledge and the bookmarks they received from the presenter were an added treat! Thank you for arranging this wonderful program.” -Elementary Environmental Educator at Environmental Institute of Houston-Clear Lake
  • “I love all the actions and movements. Great for young children! The students were very engaged. The Teaching Artist was very energetic and patient with the kids. I learned a lot too!” – Humble ISD Elementary School Teacher
  • “Very informative, and the children were interested and engaged. It’s a great lead-in for our Science Fair project.” – Houston ISD Elementary School Teacher
  • “My teachers were impressed, and they’re a tough group to impress.” – Pasadena ISD Science Curriculum Manager