Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education
Print... | Close   
Is Your Bus Exhausting? Stevens Institute of Technology


TEACHERS: Diesel Bus Case Study

Students will:
  • research the diesel retrofit program
  • prepare a 5 - 10 minute persuasive argument about the project



Diesel engines emit high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and in addition, a complex mixture of gases, many of which are known or suspected cancer causing agents. Diesel exhaust from idling school buses can accumulate on and around the bus and pose a health risk, particularly to children. When buses idle in the school yard, the exhaust also can pollute the air inside the school building and pose a health risk to children throughout the day. Numerous scientific studies indicate that exposure to diesel exhaust can cause lung damage, respiratory problems, premature death, and lung cancer. However, there are some simple steps that schools can take to reduce idling time and air pollution.

Recommended actions to reduce diesel pollution:
  • Establish the mechanism for continued use ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in the public schools
  • Perform mechanical modification to school buses to enable the use of oxidation catalyst and filter retrofits
  • Evaluate the emission reductions achieved through the project
  • Oversee emissions testing and possible personal monitoring of students in the school district

Use the following links and any other materials you can find to prepare a 5 - 10 minute persuasive argument addressing the questions below.

Additionally, you should address the following questions in your persuasive argument

  • Are school buses contributors to air quality problems/issues? Why?
  • Do school bus emissions harm people?
  • Can anything be done to decrease the amount of emissions?
  • Is retro-fitting worth the expense?
  • How would the expenses be covered if a school district decided to retrofit?
  • Are there other alternatives?


Persuasive argument


Implementation Tips
Team up with an English teacher to create an evaluation rubric for the argument, or create a joint assignment for the students.


Copyright all rights reserved 2005. Stevens Institute of Technology.
The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education