Not all Air is Clean Air

Learning about What we Breathe at PS110

By 3rd Graders from Ms. Head’s Class at PS110 and Fran Agnone

On a rainy Friday at PS110K – The Monitor School, Ms. Fortunato’s 3rd grade STEM Class transformed into an investigation into air quality. What makes air clean? And what makes it dirty? Below are the thoughts and discoveries of the young investigators.

What do you think causes air pollution?

“Gasoline, smoke and other human products. Also dust.” -Ines

“I predict most of the air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas.” – Luca and Marcus

“Cars cause air pollution because of the exhaust.” -Ani and Louis

“Planes because they need a lot of gas to get up in the air.” – Noah and Julien

Sean and Emil investigate the vehicular traffic outside the classroom window to track local pollution from exhaust fumes.

How many cars and trucks passed by the school during a 20 minute period of observation?

37 cars and 9 trucks passed by on Monitor Street. And 50 cars and 15 trucks passed on Driggs Avenue.  

Severine, Julien, and Tobey look up what causes air pollution and what can clean the air.

After researching on laptops, students found evidence that this car exhaust along with other sources contribute to making our air dirty.

Noah and Julien made the connection, “gasoline causes air pollution and gasoline comes from cars.”

John and Isadora discovered,Cars, factories and dust cause air pollution.”

Amelie and Anya found, “when we use household cleaning products like insect killers and painting supplies, we cause pollution. Also if you breathe any of these things in you can become sick.”

While Severine and Toby summed it all up by noticing, “most of the air pollution is caused by burning fossil fuels.”

When looking towards what could clean the air, students found both air cleaners in nature and human-made products.

Emil and Sean noted “trees can clean the air.”

Ani and Louis found some technical solutions, like a “molecular air purifier.”

Looking toward the future, students reflected on why it is important to stop air pollution and what steps they could take to help.

John and Isadora reasoned, “If we breathe dirty air, it will affect our breathing systems. There is not always clean air around us and we have to make it clean so all living things can breathe.”

Ines warned, “avoid cars! Because it’s killing people.”  She then quickly sketched out a design for a Bicycle Car,  a car “that runs on pedaling power. It’s a way to help not use gasoline.”

Whether it’s the invention of a bicycle car or advocating for renewable energy, there are is not one solution to cleaning our local air. We need all of us to work together to keep our lungs and planet clean. Stay tuned to an upcoming No-Idling Campaign at the Greenpoint Eco Schools for student-driven solutions to excess exhaust in front of our buildings.