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TEACHERS: Compare Ozone Testing Tools

IMPORTANT: If this investigation is attempted outside of "Ozone Season", there may not be data, or ozone, available in your region to support the investigation. Check the ozone forecast to make sure there will be ozone on the planned activity day.

Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • create and conduct their own ground level ozone investigation
  • collect and analyze ozone data
  • compare student collected data against AIRNow data
  • identify possible local sources of ground level ozone

Materials

Note: Depending on age and ability level of students, for safety purposes, consider preparing the paper as a demonstration.

 

Background:

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.

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.

 

Assessment
Each group should create and deliver a 5 minute presentation about the investigation they created and the data collected. Each presentation should contain the following information:

  • The sampling objective (hypothesis) for the investigation.
  • A description of the method of data collection, including the frequency, duration and location of monitoring.
  • How did the different measurement tools compare?
  • How did the data compare with the AIRNow data?
  • What are possible sources of ozone?

 


 
 
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