Acid Rain Viewfinder

Acid Rain Viewfinder lesson plan

What is happening to limestone and marble buildings around the world? Show the effects of acid rain in a viewfinder.

  • 1.

    What does rain do? It waters the Earth, but also drops acid. When there is so much pollution (sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide) in the atmosphere that the environment can’t neutralize it, the acid leaches into rain, snow, and even fog. Research the major causes of acid rain and how they can be reduced. Find out what acid rain does to forests, bodies of water, and limestone and marble buildings (such as the U.S. capitol’s columns and other world landmarks).

  • 2.

    <STRONG>Construct a viewfinder</STRONG>. Here is one way to show scenes "before" and "after" acid rain. Cut out a box in the center of a recycled foam tray with Crayola® Scissors. Cut thin cardboard the same size and shape of the tray. Cover ONLY the sides (not the middle) with Crayola School Glue. Glue to the tray. Posterboard will slide across the hole. Air-dry the viewfinder.

  • 3.

    <STRONG> Show effects of acid rain</STRONG>. With Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, trace around the boxes twice on posterboard. Cut posterboard to size so it will slide through the opening. Make as many boxes as you need. Inside the first box, illustrate a building, forest, or other setting with Erasable Colored Pencils. In the second box, draw the same setting during a rainstorm. Use the eraser to show acid rain damage. Decorate the front of the viewfinder, too.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Find solutions!</STRONG> Give a slide show on the effects of acid rain to other students. Together, brainstorm ideas of ways to help eliminate acid rain. What can you do?


  • Students research the causes and effects of acid rain.
  • Students render cause and effect scenes of rainforests, buildings, or other environments adversely affected by acid rain.
  • Students present their findings in a unique and appealing format and then brainstorm possible solutions to the problem of acid rain.


  • Chart the acidity and alkalinity of everyday items (marking normal rain acid level at 5.6). With litmus paper (from a pharmacy), test rainwater in your area. Identify possible landmarks made of marble or limestone that might be vulnerable to damage.
  • Half of the acid rain deposits in Eastern Canada originate from United States emissions. Discuss the saying that "everyone lives downwind" and its possible repercussions for neighbors. Find out about other international areas of shared pollution challenge
  • Start a campaign at your school to educate students about the actions they can take to reduce acid rain.
  • Assessment: Evaluate the accuracy and details of the effects of acid rain shown in the presentation. How original and practical are the solutions?