Project news

Education Quality Is Air Quality

A school at the service of the city’s wellbeing.

Pracownia school in Łódź is not new to innovative approaches in education. An already ‘experimental’ environment, it presents an extremely flexible curriculum: unlike many counterparts, no fixed timetables divide lessons, as more emphasis is given to the quality of learning, rather than to its quantity.

A specific trait makes this institution particularly suitable for the Make it Open philosophy, that is its openness to the outside. Based on their interests, students may propose the subjects following their curiosity, which allows the penetration of recurrent external issues into the classroom.

Photograph: studying the neighbourhood.

In such an industrial city as Łódź, air pollution represents an alarming matter, as well as the most natural choice as a subject for a science class. Thus, the students developed the hypotheses that would drive their research and meticulously organised the activities. After examining the city map and identifying the most congested areas, they assumed that traffic may relevantly affect Łódź’s air quality, and in order to quantify such impact they elaborated three questions that would bind these elements together:

  • When are the biggest traffic jams around our school?
  • Does the number of cars affect air quality?
  • Where was the highest air pollution?

Photograph: the whole process, from spotting the congestions to data elaboration.

Based on a Micro:bit microcontroller, they measured the PM2.5 and PM10 dust concentration. The hypotheses were confirmed:

‘We can have an impact on air quality. We have noticed that in a car there is often only the driver. We marked our daily route to school on a map and try to combine commutes’.

A public awareness campaign followed the study, making the results available to the whole local community, and alternative solutions were proposed to tackle an issue that affects everyone’s health.

Pictures credit: Pracownia school.