Air Quality Matter
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that improved air quality can improve student learning. Several low-cost interventions may produce the academic and health benefits that have been touted for years. However, further research is needed to verify the effects of improved air quality on learning. The Clean Energy, Sharp Minds Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) aims to provide $20 million in grants to schools to purchase, install, and maintain commercial air filters. The study will then measure the impact of air pollution on student learning.
The measuring air quality interactive has been designed to be used by small groups of two to three students sharing a computer workstation. During the exercise, students work through a series of data pages and questions related to air quality. The teacher can view the Answer Key to each question and save the students’ data for online grading. By implementing the new guidelines, schools can reduce the risk of the spread of diseases and other illnesses.
Indoor air pollution at schools can negatively affect student performance and attendance. Recent studies have suggested that children who attend school buildings near busy roads are exposed to more toxins from traffic fumes than their counterparts who attend schools in areas with lower air pollution. High levels of air pollution have been linked to reduced cognitive function and reduced performance in math. Some ways to reduce air pollution at school include regular cleaning, using allergen-proof mattresses, and preventing moisture buildup.
Does Air Quality Matter for Students?
Students can use the Measuring Air Quality interactive to learn about air pollution. They can work together in groups of two or three on one computer workstation. The students will complete a series of data pages and questions. The teachers can access the Answer Key to each question to evaluate the students’ responses. They can save their data and analyze the results online. The air quality teaching box includes educational resources for students to explore the science behind air pollution and possible solutions. The educational resources are made possible through the efforts of NASA DISCOVER-AQ and UCAR.
In addition to improving the quality of the air, students are also affected by the indoor air quality. In fact, air pollution is more prevalent in school buildings than it is outdoors. As a result, children who are exposed to a high-pollution environment may experience fewer illnesses and lower test scores. If the air quality at their school is poor, the students’ attendance and performance may suffer and even lose their lives. Luckily, it is not too late to improve the situation and start improving the health of our children and our planet.
While the air quality in a school is important to the students, the overall conditions of the students are even more important. A poor indoor environment affects their learning. It can lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses. In fact, the quality of air in schools can be up to five times higher than it is outdoors. Furthermore, it can make teachers more productive. Therefore, it is essential for school officials to take proactive steps to improve IAQ in their school.