I teach in a working class community, near-urban high school in northern New Jersey. We are surrounded by highways and industry. My students are a diverse bunch--about one-quarter are Latino and about 5% are Arab-American. As many as 10 % were born outside the United States--this year I have students from Bangladesh, Macedonia, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Canada, and England.
My students are not generally the outdoors type.
Their idea of a hike is a walk around the large mall nearby. The school parking lot is full of student vehicles--even though we are not a wealthy school, getting a car is a major goal of many students, who work long hours to save for one.
Most students do go on to college, heavily state and community colleges. Our school is working hard to prepare them for college and, in science classes, to get them working with real data.
My students will use the Personal Air Monitor (PAM) for three weeks to measure air pollution inside and outside our school. This will help them gain a deeper understanding of the pollutants in our air, including local sources of air pollution. We will share our air pollution data with other schools online at aqtreks.com. My students will measure particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature, pressure and humidity. They will be able to design Treks to investigate where these pollutants are high or low inside our school and in our neighborhood. They will then analyze their data online and compare their levels to levels found at other schools.
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