E. T. A LOCAL WAY OF LEARNING
Title: AIR MONITORING
Author: Eulalie R. Rivera Elementary School
Environmental Education Team
Grade Level: 5-8
5. Air 1. Science
9. Change 2. Social Studies
Through the directions given, students will make a simple air quality monitoring
device and by making comparisons and recording data under different conditions,
will show such variations on the chart.
Concern with particulate matter in the air, one aspect of air pollution, stems
from the realization that in the main, it's a one way passage of particles of
matter into the lungs where they remain for the duration of your life.
Sturdy cardboard, facial tissue, a 1" x 2" X 6 or 8' piece of wood, thumb tacks,
yardstick, hand lens or microscope.
A readily constructed inexpensive device is used to introduce students to simple
monitoring of air quality in the schoolyard. This activity could be repeated
periodically during the school year. The directions for the activity and the
material needs are outlined in the different activity steps.
1. Have the students in the class make a cardboard frame to which they glue the
single ply of a 4" X 4" piece of toilet or facial tissue:
a. Cardboard frame 4"
4 inch square, outside dimensions
Center, and cut out a hole, 3 inches
in diameter. 4" 4"
b. Using a single ply piece of toilet tissue, glue/
paste securely over the hole to the cardboard
Obtain a long board (1" x 2" x 6' or 8'); some soft wood like pine. Using
thumb tacks, secure the tissue holding cardboard frames to one edge of the
board, alternating sides, starting about 15-inches from the bottom:
cardboard frames attached with
thumb tacks, alternating sides,
going up as many as the class
has made. (Depending on number
of frames available, they could
be spaced, measuring each for
distance from ground level to
record on data sheet.)
3. Locate an open space in the schoolyard where it would be possible to place
the device upright by driving the bottom into the ground, about 10 inches; or
you might have to dig a hole, place the device and fill back the soil and tamp
securely. Decide beforehand what the prevailing winds are and face the frames
into such winds.
4. Different types of observation can now be made using the sheets to record
a. Leave the air monitor device in place for one school day. Remove
the cardboard frames and bring in to study in class the next day.
Mark each frame in succession, starting with the one closest to the
ground so that you may note any difference in particulate matter on
the frames higher above the ground.
b. Place the air monitor device after school, and leave out until the
following morning. Mark and remove the frames for study as "a" above.
c. Leave the air monitor device in place for a full day, 24 hours, and
make a comparative study.
d. The frame comparisons can be made by sight alone, with a hand lens
(magnifying glass) or microscope, if the latter is available. (In
working with the frames, handle carefully so as not to shake off
any dust or particulate matter).
e. Record data and description starting with frame #1 at bottom and
indicate measured height above ground level for each.
f. After examination, a representative sample portion of tissue from each
frame may be cut out and taped to data sheet in space so provided.
OBSERVATION RECORD SHEET
FRAME TISSUE SAMPLE WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF TISSUE APPEARANCE
OBSERVATION TYPE (circle) School Day Overnight 24 hours
ANALYSIS TYPE (circle) Visual Only Hand Lens Microscope
Number of frames Time of Year Wind Direction
(use additional sheets if necessary, but keep the frames in order)