Saturday, 4 March 2017

Pollution Watch – A Collaborative Project

Pollution Watch – A Collaborative Project
‘Learning is experience, everything else is just information’- Albert Einstein
Twenty first  century skills are a set of abilities that students need to develop in order to succeed in this time and age. These include thinking deeply about issues, solving problems creatively, working effectively in teams, communicating clearly and learning ever-changing technologies. Besides this, they also need to be flexible, to take the initiative and to lead where necessary. Air pollution and climate change is one such leading problem across the world and for the new generation to act upon it they must learn and experience the seriousness of the issue on their own. Experiential learning is any learning that supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or situations.
The students of Class 4 at The Foundation School, conducted an experiment to check the level of air pollution by counting the SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) levels. Since we were performing the experiment in the National Capital, It was essential to compare and find out whether the same levels exist throughout India or do they vary.

 We got the opportunity to collaborate with St. Joseph Institute, Goa who conducted the same experiment. Five locations namely: bus stop, school playground, indoors, car parking area/garage and home balcony were chosen to hang white placards smeared with petroleum jelly. After a few days, the samples were collected to count the number of pollutants that stuck on them. The counting was done under a microscope; the results were tabulated and analysed. Through the results the children could easily conclude the location with maximum SPM levels and the factors that could have caused it.
The results of both partner schools were shared with the children who then represented them as bar graphs. It was shocking to see the difference in the SPM level between the maximum polluted counts of both cities. The worst being New Delhi of course, the numbers in Goa were less than half when compared!
It was then time for students from both cities to interact one on one and share their observations through a video conferencing session. The children not only spoke about the reasons for the difference in the pollution level but also discussed the different ways in which it can be reduced like using CNG vehicles, car pooling, sprinkling water on playgrounds etc.

It ended with a common inference to save the environment and work towards reducing the pollution levels as responsible citizens of one nation. This activity not only developed their skills by repeated practice and reflection, but also helped them to construct new understanding and think critically of the situation.

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