12th Symposium on Education


Air Quality Education in the Classroom

Michael C. Howe, MSC, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Air pollution affects the health of all Canadians with children being identified as one of several groups most sensitive to elevated concentrations. Recent medical research has identified asthma as the most common chronic respiratory disease of children and accounts for approximately 25 percent of school absenteeism in Canada. Furthermore, research has also indicated a strong positive correlation between deterioration in air quality and increased hospital admissions.

To address the delivery of air quality education and awareness to young Canadians, Environment Canada’s New Brunswick Weather Centre, in partnership with the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP), a community-based environmental management group, have developed an Air Quality Outreach module targeted towards elementary and middle school aged children, Grades 4 to 8. The principle objective of this module is to introduce students to the fundamentals of air quality science, combining both a theoretical and a "hands-on/interactive" approach. This will allow both children and teachers to better understand the complexities of air quality on human health as well as allowing them to take a more informed decision to protect themselves, their families and their environment, especially on days when air quality is of concern. This module was developed specifically to complement Environment Canada’s highly successful Sky Watchers Program, an interactive atmospheric science program suitable for Grades 4 to 8, designed specifically to support the science curriculum.

The intent of this paper is to highlight the module objectives, in addition to the experience gained through the delivery of a non-traditional atmospheric science to elementary and middle school students.

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Session 1, K–12 Educational Initiatives
Monday, 10 February 2003, 8:30 AM-10:15 AM

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