Air pollution and children

Children are some of the most vulnerable to dirty air. The health effects include: asthma, reduced lung capacity and can even impact their brain development.

Friends of the Earth have just relaunched their Clean Air Schools Pack, designed with teachers, it aims to transform KS2 pupils into budding scientists. It provides engaging lesson plans that take them on a journey to understand air pollution, its effects and what we can do about it.

So why have I posted this here? Yes, I am very concerned about the environment (you can read about that elsewhere on this blog and my other blogs) but this also provides an opportunity for pupils to learn to use their computing skills. For example:

  • groups of schools could share their data and map it onto Google Maps
  • the shared data and other air pollution data available online could be used to identify pollution hot spots and pupils could try to identify the causes
  • pupils could research the sources of air pollution in their area, think about the ways in which it can be reduced and use their computing skills to plan a campaign (leaflets, websites, blogs, social media, etc). In the process they can begin to understand the way in which the advertising media works and tries to change our opinions. A look at other campaigns, both environmental and otherwise, will help to make them more media literate.
  • schools with weather stations could look back at pollution levels and the weather data to see if weather affects pollution levels. This is a little more complicated as there are several factors involved but for schools in areas with high levels of air pollution the data should reveal some clear patterns.

So, why not order your Clean Air Schools Pack and see where it takes you?

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