We propose to make air pollution personal by enabling K-12 students to act as citizen scientists using sophisticated, mobile air pollution monitors to measure their individual exposures to black carbon, a primary pollutant, and ozone, a secondary pollutant. Through their experiments and specially designed curricula, students will learn when and where they and others are exposed to these damaging air pollutants and how that exposure can affect their health. Ozone and black carbon are two of the most damaging air pollutants to human health, and it has been shown that both are asthma triggers and can lead to other health problems, including heart disease and even premature death. Heightened awareness of the way air quality impacts health is vital, and nothing is more impactful than understanding exposure at a personal level. Through our nonprofit partner the GO3 Project, ~50 schools will be loaned a 2B Tech Personal Ozone Monitor (POM) and microAeth personal black carbon monitor (AethLabs), both accurate, pocket-sized monitors, for a period of two weeks each, allowing up to ~1,000 day-long personal monitoring experiments. The instruments are equipped with GPS capabilities so students can track their daily activities or planned excursions and upload their data to share with other students and citizens online. Furthermore, these excursions will highlight air quality disparities in different regions or neighborhoods, raising awareness of environmental justice issues. We will develop specific software for online analysis and display on Google Earth and Google Maps. Students will be able to compare and discuss data with students at ~85 schools around the world via the already established GO3 Social Network. The project includes full curricula and activities on the science and health effects of ozone, black carbon and other air pollutants, allowing students to further their understanding in conjunction with hands-on experimentation with sophisticated, mobile instrumentation. Near the end of the Phase I project, we will assess its success in terms of logistical problems encountered, equipment and software, data quantity and quality, learning, experiences, and what can be done to improve the GO3 Project for implementation in 500 schools during Phase II. The Phase II commercialization plan will show how the GO3 Project with personal monitoring can be expanded to thousands of schools through self-funding in an already established educational Green Fundraiser and through additional personal and corporate donations.
K-12 education on the health effects of air pollution will be enriched by developing hands-on experimentation with personal, mobile monitoring of ozone and black carbon, arguably the two most important air pollutants to human health. Data will be analyzed and mapped online so that students at schools across the country can compare their measurements, discuss the observed spatial and temporal variations, explore environmental justice issues, learn about the health effects of exposure to these pollutants, and more.