Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education

Children spend a lot of time in school buildings and breathe around 7.2 million litres of air at school during their childhood. The theme for this year’s Clean Air Day is ‘Clean up our air to look after your mind’. Poor air quality at school impacts childrens’ health and attention levels, so it’s important we understand school air quality and improve it when it is poor.

SAMHE (pronounced ‘Sammy’!) stands for Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education. It is an exciting new citizen science project which brings together scientists, pupils and teachers across the UK. This Clean Air Day we encourage UK schools to sign up to receive a free air quality monitor linked to an interactive Web App. 

The SAMHE monitor measures carbon dioxide (CO2), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), particulate matter (PM), temperature and relative humidity. Through the SAMHE Web App, teachers and pupils can view the data in a range of interactive charts and graphical formats, and see how air quality changes over the course of hours, days or weeks and months. The App also offers a range of curriculum-linked activities and experiments using the data, creating opportunities for pupils to be scientists and do hands-on experiments with their monitor.

SAMHE has been designed together with schools to ensure it meets schools’ needs and is fun and engaging for pupils. Teachers involved in its development found it “powerful to see the live feed of the data” and were pleased that the “range of options allows us to use this system across the STEM subjects”.

SAMHE enables pupils to interact with real world data about their immediate environment, gives them agency to take informed action and offers an opportunity to collaborate with scientists and contribute to important research. 

A representative of Elangeni School said: ‘The SAMHE monitor and app have provided our Y4/5 science group with a wealth of data to interrogate and analyse. There is tangible excitement at being able to access the data in real time at home!’ 

Find out more and register your school on the SAMHE website.


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