/ Center for Exploratory Learning

Middle-High School Air Quality Monitoring

Students working with monitors in class.Engage your students in hands-on inquiry based learning about their environment. These innovative, compact monitors allow students to explore carbon dioxide, particulate matter and ozone readings. Lessons are applicable for middle and high school students in all areas of science and math.

Environmental Research Has Students Making their Own Discoveries

Sample Monitor DataStudents are naturally curious about the world around them. So why not let that curiosity drive their learning? Simple and compact air quality monitors developed by resident Don Triezenberg are doing just that. Partnership with the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute expands the community relationship of the project.

Equipped with a CO2 and particulate matter sensor, over 300 middle and high school students in West Michigan have been introduced to science lessons using the monitors. Students are challenged to first discover how the monitors work through experimentation. Then, with guidance from their teachers, they design and carry out their own experiments. This student-directed learning sparks the interest of the students and allows the teacher to engage the students in a directed discussion of the related science.

Monitor in the FieldWhile the data from these monitors are not yet calibrated to a high enough level to publicize as community air quality assessments, they provide powerful examples to illustrate how environmental conditions can change based on a variety of conditions. Students are investigating questions related to changes in air quality in different sections of their homes, or how the air composition changes as all the students show up for school in the morning or the effect of humidity on air quality.

Teachers are observing that students in a range of classes benefit from use of the monitors, with implementation in chemistry, math, biology and environmental science classes as examples. Middle school students in Grand Haven even started to challenge their teacher to learn how the weather and other conditions affected their data.

Monitor Sample Results