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ONLINE COURSE: 7th Grade -> Ozone Testing Tools and Tracking Ozone (Week 2)

Part 1. Introduction
This week we will be introducing Ozone Testing Tools and Tracking Ozone. To begin, please read and review the following resources to better understand the related concepts. Once you've reviewed these sites, please refer to the Assignment below.


Part 2. The Ozone Testing Tools Activity
Review the following Background Information and then follow the instructions below to access the lesson linked off the project web site and complete the activity. NOTE: You will be asked to review and send a completed student handout (linked in the upper-right hand corner of each lesson) to the course instructors depending on the availability of the equipment.


2.1. Review the Background Information

The focus of this lesson is for students to develop a ground level ozone sampling activity. Students will develop an investigation to measure the amounts of ground level ozone present in their area. Once data has been collected, the students will access the AIRNow web site and obtain near real-time data for the area (if available). The students will make comparisons between the student collected versus AirNow data. Students will also be responsible to identify possible sources of NOx and VOCs, leading to the production of ground level ozone.

Depending on available resources, students may use different sampling materials, or use similar materials but pursue differing methodologies. Overall, each student investigation will follow the same basic approach outlined below.

For example, if students are concerned about the level of ozone near their school, the sampling objective might be:

  • If ozone is present and measured on the EPA AirNow web site, the EcoBadge OR ACCESS system OR Ozone Detector Badge OR chemical testing paper OR rubber bands OR milkweed will detect the presence of ozone.
  • If ozone is present outside, we predict ozone measurements will be higher outside than inside of the school, when the windows are closed and measurements are not taken near copy machines or other potential indoor sources of ozone.
  • If ozone is present outside, we predict ozone measurements will be roughly equal inside and outside of the school, when the windows are closed and measurements are not taken near copy machines or other potential indoor sources of ozone.


Milkweed as a bioindicator for the presence of ground level ozone


2.2 Review the "Teachers" Lesson Plan & Complete the Student Activity

For this activity, you will develop an investigation to measure the amounts of ground level ozone present in an area. Once data has been collected, you will access the AIRNow web site to obtain near real-time data for your area (if available) and make comparisons between the data you collected and the AirNow data.

Part A: Conduct the Investigation

  1. Break into groups of 4 - 6 students. With your teacher, review and select one of the Ozone Tools below that might be used in the investigation and refer to the corresponding Student Worksheet. Make sure that everyone in the group accurately understands how to use the tools.
    • Eco Badges
    • ACCESS system
    • Ozone Detector Card
    • Chemical Testing Paper (Schoenbein Paper)
    • Rubber bands
    • Milkweed (late summer only)
  2. Define the sampling objective, or the scientific question (hypothesis) the project is addressing. All projects must involve the use of all tools, and the comparison of the results.
    • For example, if ozone is present and measured on the EPA AirNow web site, the EcoBadge OR ACCESS system OR Ozone Detector Badge OR chemical testing paper OR rubber bands OR milkweed will detect the presence of ozone
  3. Decide and identify the methods of data collection your group will follow.
    • For example, describe where the sampling equipment will be located, how long you will perform sampling, and whether the measurements (experiment) will be repeated in the same day.
  4. Complete the investigation using the selected Ozone Tool. Be sure to record the information in your corresponding Student Worksheet.

Part B: AIRNow and Final Presentation

  1. Access the AIRNow web site and obtain near real-time data for the area (if available) and answer the questions on the Student Worksheet
  2. Each group will create and deliver a 5 minute presentation about the investigation they created and the data collected. Review the information listed in the Student Worksheet to se what should be included.

 

 

Assignment A - Outdoor Air Pollution: Introduce yourself AND respond to at least one posting using the Discussion Board (see Instructions) by Thursday, 3/31/2005. Be sure to include the following:

  • Depending on the availability of the equipment (please email me on the status) try using each test and create a batch of the Schoenbien paper. If you have any questions about using the tests, please let me know. Unfortunately the amount of ozone will be low this time of year, however you can try placing the testing papers near the photocopier in school.

 

Part 3. Tracking Ozone Activity

Review the following Background Information and then follow the instructions below to access the lesson linked off the project web site and complete the activity. NOTE: You will be asked to review and send a completed student handout (linked in the upper-right hand corner of each lesson) to the course instructors after EVERY online session.

In this activity, students will learn that the presence of ground level ozone is dependent on weather conditions.

3.1. Review the Background Information

There are several factors involved with the formation of ground level ozone, including:

  • Sunlight/Ultraviolet Radiation: Ground level ozone is produced by a photochemical reaction. A photochemical reaction is a chemical reaction that requires light (in this case sunlight) to provide the energy for the reaction to proceed. During the summer months, the earth is tilted in such a way that the sun's rays are more direct, and more intense. This combination creates longer and warmer days than in the winter months. Ground level ozone is called the "summertime pollutant" because that is the time of year when the energy from the sun is intense enough to trigger the photochemical reaction necessary to produce ground level ozone from NOx and VOCs.
  • Cloud Cover: Cloudless skies create conditions for warmer days to occur. But keep in mind that a completely cloudless sky is not necessary for the photochemical process to start.  The more sunlight available, the more likely the ground level ozone photochemical reaction will occur.
  • Temperature: High temperatures can increase ozone levels by increasing the rate at which the chemical reaction described above occurs.
  • Wind Direction: NOx can travel large distances before reacting to form ozone. For that reason, it creates regional pollution problems, rather than simply affecting the local area where it is emitted. The action of pollutants traveling distances is called transport. Transported pollutants contribute significantly to the presence of ground level ozone in rural areas.
  • Wind Speed: Low wind speeds (less than about 10 mph) are necessary for the accumulation of pollutants and subsequent formation of high concentrations of ozone. At speeds above about 10 mph, pollutants are diluted too rapidly for ozone to accumulate significantly.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's): Emissions from human activities include driving, industrial manufacturing, lawn mowing and painting are all sources of hydrocarbons. VOC's are one of the necessary ingredients to the ozone equation.
  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx): Nitrogen oxides (NOx), the other chemical precursor of ozone, are produced whenever fossil fuels are burned and are primarily produced by motor vehicles and power plants.

The photochemical reaction that produces ground level ozone requires several factors to be present and tends to occur when a stagnant air mass develops during hot and sunny conditions. The air will not become stagnant if weather systems continue to move through the area and displace the air with cleaner, "fresher" air.

 

Assignment B - Tracking Ozone Activity
You will need to coordinate with your break-out group members either by e-mail or phone to complete this assignment.
  1. As a team, search the 2004 CT archives for an "ozone event" and complete Tracking Ozone Student Worksheets (graphs) for the event.
  2. Send your completed worksheets to the Course Instructors via e-mail by Thursday, 3/31/2005.
    • Be sure to include New Haven, CT Grade 7 Week One Activity in the subject of your e-mail message.

 

 

 


 
 
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