Is air quality different depending on your location? We will be collecting air quality data using sensors to see if there are differences between inside and outside locations at our school and will also compare inside and outside readings from other schools in Maine, Alabama and Mississippi.
Instructions / How to do this investigation
Air Quality Protocol – WeatherBlur 2022
This investigation uses this sensor
- Setup the Purple Air Sensor at your school according to the instructions provided with the sensor.
- Select a location determined by the class. Depending on what they intend to investigate, they may choose to set it up near the bus drop off or carpool lane, the playground, or another location on campus where they would like to monitor air quality.
- You may need to work with the school or district IT team to ensure the monitor is connected properly to the school’s wi-fi network.
- Find a time in the school day to record the following data measurements:
- From your monitor:
- PM 2.5 particulates
- PM 10 particulates
- Overall AQI
- From local online weather report: Regional AQI
- From school weather station (or online data):
- Wind speed and direction
- Observations about local weather and events related to air quality
- From your monitor:
- Capture the same data, at the same time of day, over the course of two weeks (this window of time can be longer or shorter depending on your preference).
- Record your daily measurements using the AQ investigation form on the WeatherBlur website.
- After two weeks of data collection, download the datasheet and start data analysis. Some questions to consider:
- What did you see in the data? Can you identify any patterns?
- Can you draw any conclusions from the data?
- How does the school data compare to regional AQI?
- Based on trends in the data, what activities may be impacting air quality at your school and in your region?
Here is an Air Quality Reference Guide created by WB scientist, Steven McLeod.
Optional extensions to the investigation:
- Compare your AQI to locations around the world. Visit the Purple Air website (https://www2.purpleair.com/), and use the reporting map to locate other monitors the class would like to track. How do your data compare to those from other regions? What environmental factors might be impacting air quality in the different locations?
- Have students conduct the “What’s ‘Riding the Wind’ in your Community?” investigation on p. 143 of the AQI Teachers Toolkit. Compare data from the school’s Purple Air monitor to the particulate matter collected in this activity. What connections can students make? What conclusions can they draw from the two activities?