Monday, July 27, 2009

Kids Should Learn About Clean Air, Too – They’re the Drivers of the Future!

A few days ago, I came across this video. A Park Slope, Brooklyn, middle school documented what the students learned from a unit their teacher did on transportation and air pollution. I shared it with my Clean Air NY colleagues and we can’t get enough of it!

Here are the top five reasons this is a great video, and a great project:

5) The kids were able to express what they learned creatively. Some sang, some danced and others drew. By combining what they learned with their interests, they made the project more interesting and more memorable.

4) They worked to spread the word. Beyond producing this video and simply keeping it, they were able to get it onto a popular blog, Treehugger. This teaches them at an early age that when you have an important message, you need to spread the word!

3) The climate change journal is a great idea. Requiring the kids to monitor the air quality each day allows them to really notice when the air quality is poor. They’ll most likely to continue noting the quality of the air each day, simply by habit. You can stay current on air quality with our widget, located on our Web site.

2) This project was very hands-on. Instead of being told that idling releases carbon pollution into the air, they measured the pollution. Instead of being told that typical vehicle occupancy is one person, they did a survey and found out for themselves.

1) Kids don’t learn enough about the negative effect vehicles can have on air quality. Because they can’t drive yet, we assume that we don’t need to teach them. I think if people are taught clean-air actions early, they are more likely to incorporate them into their daily lives. It’s a lot easier to start off with good habits than it is to change bad ones. These students are likely to remember what they have learned from this video project once they begin driving. They know now to carpool when possible, to stop idling, etc. Hopefully, these actions will be incorporated automatically into their driving habits.

All you teachers and parents – take a lesson from this lesson. Make sure your kids know about transportation and air pollution. They are, after all, the drivers of the future.

Amanda Moss, Clean Air NY Outreach Coordinator.

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