The SAMHE project is one of the biggest studies of its kind anywhere in the world. Researchers are inviting teachers and pupils to monitor classroom air quality to improve children’s health and concentration in school. The project is a multi-institution effort involving a large team from SEI York, Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, the Global Centre for Clean Air Research at the University of Surrey, the University of Leeds and the UK Health Security Agency.
The Newsround feature showed the SAMHE monitor – which resembles a WiFi router – in action in the classroom, with Ricky and project lead Henry Burridge explaining how it constantly monitor the air for all sorts of changes, including levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter.
When they first examined the monitor, both the green lights and numbers on the display showed that CO2 levels were low, which indicates a low level of re-breathed air. This is good both for health and the ability to concentrate. The class then investigated how doing exercise – jumping up and down – affected the air quality. As their breathing rate increased, the CO2 readout climbed and the indicator lights changed from green to orange. In line with SAMHE guidance, the group then took action to improve the air quality by opening windows to increase ventilation. The children also had an opportunity to explain their thoughts and demonstrate their knowledge about their classroom’s air quality.
We think the air quality is important in classrooms because children spend a reasonable amount of their young years there. And the beauty of this project is it involves children and raising their awareness of air quality, and that can only be a good thing.
Dr Henry Burridge, Project Lead
SAMHE are still recruiting for the project and would be excited to hear from schools all over the UK, especially those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. To register your school and get involved, visit the SAMHE website.
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