Two groups of enthusiastic southern California students received hands-on lessons on local air quality and low-cost air sensor technology as part of a successful pair of Kids Making Sense (KMS) workshops. Over 60 students from two high schools participated in the December 2015 workshops. Teachers from both workshops said that they could easily incorporate the KMS material into their classes, and also said the workshops left their students feeling empowered to learn about the air quality in their communities.
At Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, 25 students learned about particulate matter (PM), measured PM around their school with small sensors, and viewed their mapped data on the KMS website. The students presented their data to the class and talked about why PM levels were higher in some places and lower in others. The workshop was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Environmental Education and co-organized by the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement.
The two-day workshop at Brawley Union High School in Brawley began with a teacher training session. Six local teachers reviewed the KMS Teacher’s Guide, received air sensor training, and discussed ways to work the material into their lesson plans. The next day, those teachers assisted in the KMS student workshop for 36 of their students, with an emphasis on local air quality. Brawley is commonly affected by dust storms, so students learned about the meteorological conditions that lead to dust storms and the effects that dust storms have on air quality. The enthusiastic students measured PM around their school and presented the data they collected using the KMS website’s interactive map. The workshop was funded by the EPA Office of Environmental Education.