Free Resources > Fireworks & Air Quality
You can design a simple experiment to study how fireworks affect air quality using your Kids Making Sense® particulate matter (PM) sensor. When fireworks light up the night sky, they also produce high concentrations of particle pollution. This happens whenever there are fireworks, but the example below is from New Year’s Eve when many cities host firework shows.
We came up with two different options for recording data for the fireworks data collection experiment. Option 1 involves measurements of PM the day before and on the day when fireworks occur. Option 2 involves PM measurements during and after the fireworks show (both on same day).
Note: Do not set off your own fireworks to perform this experiment as fireworks are dangerous.
Option 1: Measuring on December 30 and December 31
New Year’s Eve firework shows usually start at midnight, but you may need to adjust the time depending on when fireworks are scheduled to start in your area.
Option 2: Measuring over time on December 31
Midnight is usually when firework shows start, but you may need to adjust the time depending on when fireworks are scheduled in your area.
If in a class setting, have your students discuss what they observed in their data during class. Did some students see high levels while others did not? Why might that be the case? The distance to the firework show, the number of fireworks, the wind, and the duration of the measurements can all have an impact on your results.