STUDENTS, AIR POLLUTION AND DIY SENSING

Location

Oslo and larger Oslo area (Norway)
Type/s of pollution
Air pollution
Sustainable Development Goals addressed?

Number of citizens scientists involved

120

Is the pilot looking for participants?

No

What is this project about?

Norway is the land of fjords, trolls and – electric cars. By actively promoting the purchase of electric cars, the Norwegian government is aiming at protecting the environment and not least improving air quality, especially in urban areas. Air quality is still a reason for concern in many European countries, including the Nordic countries. Not many people are aware of this fact, and this is where the Norwegian pilot of the ACTION project comes in.

The pilot gives high school students in Oslo and the larger Oslo area the opportunity to design and carry out their own air quality projects, using an off-the-shelf air quality sensor platform. The aim is to create awareness about the sources of air pollution, make the students think of ways to reduce both emission and exposure and teach them scientific working methods. We use the Nova SDS011 sensor for measuring PM2.5 and PM10 that is transmitting data to an Arduino board. The data can be obtained through an SD card.

The Norwegian pilot is coordinated by NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research. First, we offer a workshop for teachers where they get information about air quality and air pollution sources, measurements and (health) effects. They also get the opportunity to build a sensor themselves and learn how to program it. The teachers are now equipped to teach what they have learned to the students. They can also ask for support from NILU scientists.

This activity is a great example for interdisciplinary learning. First, the students are learning about air quality/air pollution and its effects on society (social studies). Then they have to build their sensor packages (technology) and program them (computer science), carry out their own measurements and interpret the results (science). At the end, all students are invited to join a student conference where they present their work on a scientific poster.

The first round of activities has been carried out in winter/spring 2019. The second round was carried out between January and April 2020 and a third round is ongoing in the first half of 2021.

What is novel and innovative?

This pilot supports students in learning more not only on air quality, but also on technology and on the scientific method. The latter is achieved by engaging them in all the steps of scientific inquiry from research question definition, to data analysis and interpretation.

Are you interested in taking part?

The pilot ended its recruitment phase, but if you are a teacher interested in getting engaged please contact the team.

Are you interested in doing something similar?

You can find a pilot tutorial in Norwegian here and in English here. You can also watch the webinar conducted by the pilot team, together with students, at Ars Electronica 2020.

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