During my previous employment, I served on the governing board of an environmental think tank that produced several educational videos. Mostly on the topic of atmospheric chemistry and air pollution. The think tank is part of a larger organization, and our work was disseminated to several other local educational institutions, including public schools. Throughout the production of the videos, one of the recurring themes was the importance of community engagement to solve these complex problems. In some cases, we were able to increase parent involvement through the creation of lesson plans and questionnaires. Other times, we simply had open discussions with concerned parents. Many parents expressed frustration that the usual solutions – increasing home ventilation or purifying the air through HEPA filters – just did not have enough impact to make a difference.
It was becoming increasingly clear to me that we needed to develop a curriculum that would engage students, present them with the scientific method and provide them with the opportunity to obtain individualized education in the areas of air pollution control. My research focused on two areas in particular; the use of particulates in the environment, and the effect of acid rain on trees.
My studies revealed a disturbing trend where the growth of vegetation was affected by increased levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. As a result, we began developing lessons on air pollution control that using the same observational approach to explain the process by which various compounds became pollutants, as well as how we could minimize their impact on the environment.
Collaborating for teaching purposes
While working in the think tank, I also became aware of the need for a unified approach to teaching the subject. I realized that there were certain gaps in the knowledge of many people, including those who were leading the effort to improve air quality in our nation. By connecting our educational efforts to atmospheric chemistry and working on our teams to design lessons, we were able to draw on a variety of resources to reach a broad spectrum of educators. Through collaboration, we were able to present multiple viewpoints that were then discussed and shared in a manner that was enjoyable and informative for all.
In the process of educating others about atmospheric chemistry, we began to gain valuable experience in the design of lesson plans and presentation methods. We were able to tailor lessons to meet the needs of our clients. Through collaborating, we also were able to make presentations that would engage the children. We were able to draw on experiences of others in the field. As we shared lessons with one another, we also gained valuable insights from each other regarding the challenges we faced and the solutions we came up with.
By working together, we were able to develop meaningful and teachable lessons. The concepts presented in the lesson plan were also illustrated through photographs showing different types of contrails and gases released in the air. This helped us show the child the various types of gases and contrails, as well as how they affect the environment.
Digital tools helping nature
For many individuals, the concept of teaching is very personal. We felt that if we shared our own personal experiences, we would be able to make a profound impact on our students. Through teaching others, we hope to instill a sense of value and responsibility to the education process. Also, sharing our own personal stories can help us gain an understanding of the emotional and social factors involved in dealing with air pollution.
While teaching the importance of atmospheric chemistry and air pollution to the education process, we also wanted to illustrate the importance of preserving the earth’s atmosphere. Containing the increase of air pollution is one way we are able to do this. The creation of this digital age has also allowed us to showcase the importance of preserving our air. Through our website, we have posted articles that talk about the effects of air pollution on our bodies as well as the different ways we can work towards preventing air pollution.
Educating others about air pollution makes it possible to see first hand the different consequences of inhaling air pollution. We want people to know that there are many different solutions for the problem and we hope that by sharing the experiences of others, we will be able to influence other people to act responsibly. There are many different laws in different cities that prevent individuals from burning coal and wood in their homes. By sharing our stories, we hope that one day in the near future, everyone will be educated about the importance of preventing air pollution.