Partnership to Develop and Deliver Curriculum Supporting Student-Led Air Quality Research in Rural Washington State

Online Publication Date: 
February 23, 2022
Publication Status: 
Published
Manuscript PDF File: 

**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16.3. All rights reserved.**

ABSTRACT
Background: This paper describes the process and educational materials developed and implemented for high school students through a partnership between an urban public university and a rural, non-profit university. This specific partnership was novel but originated within a long-standing community-academic partnership. This project took place in a rural community impacted by air pollution and a higher asthma hospitalization rate compared to the rest of the state.
Objectives: The objectives of this paper are to describe the development and implementation of a high school program where students conducted their own research on local air quality using low-cost monitors with the guidance of undergraduate student mentors.
Methods: University faculty, researchers, and students collaborated to develop an air quality curriculum relevant to local issues. This curriculum was delivered to high school students through an existing after school program, and guided students in conducting their own research on community air pollution. The students used university-provided low-cost monitors for their research, and presented their research to community members. Student learning was supported through hands-on activities and conducting research projects. Student projects examined air quality variation indoors within their school, outdoors in their community, and at home.
Conclusions: This curriculum can be adapted for use with students in many different communities. It will likely be most successful and engaging if adapted to local air pollution sources and issues, and implemented through an existing programmatic structure with a high mentor to student ratio.