Cleaner air starts in the classroom – James Dyson Foundation launches new educational air pollution resource
The World Health Organisation have found that over 90% of children breathe in toxic air daily. To better educate children on the impacts of pollution and encourage them to think of solutions, Dyson’s charitable arm, the James Dyson Foundation , launches its latest free teaching resource for classrooms around the UK.
17 June 2021
Research by Engineering UK shows by 2025 an additional 1.8m engineers and technically qualified people will be needed in the UK. To inspire the problem solvers of tomorrow, young people need to be shown how engineering is relevant and exciting.
To mark Clean Air Day on 17th June 2021, the James Dyson Foundation shares Engineering Solutions – Air Pollution. A collection of resources to educate on the problem of air pollution and its potential solutions. Designed using Dyson engineers’ expertise in air science, it supports teachers to bring to life one of the most pressing problems facing the world.
About Engineering Solutions – Air Pollution
Committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers, the James Dyson Foundation encourages creative problem-solving through hands-on activities and challenges. The new resource enables young minds to explore the global impacts of air pollution and understand how engineering and science can help us to find a solution.
“Air pollution is a worldwide issue and, just like other global problems, there are many possible solutions. By hearing how Dyson engineers approached the problem, students will understand how science and engineering can tackle air pollution and start to apply this knowledge in their own design solutions. This resource is packed full of hands-on and challenging engineering activities which we hope will inspire students to consider engineering as a possible career, as well as be fun to teach!”
Lydia Beaton, Global Head of the James Dyson Foundation
For in-classroom teaching
The learning tools are available for both primary and secondary year groups. Engineered to be complementary to both Science and Design & Technology curriculums at Upper Key Stage Two and Key Stages Three and Four, the teacher’s resource contains five lesson plans.
Full of activities, along with supporting videos and posters, students will understand more about the air around them and how design engineering is a stream for the solution. Students conclude the series by designing and building their own solution to air pollution. At a secondary level, students can get hands-on with experiments and data analysis tasks.
There is an optional lesson in which students build their own air quality monitoring device to examine air pollution around their school too.
For at-home activities
Last summer the resource launched as a student workbook, to support with STEM activities during lockdown and summer holidays. Packed with information, there is a sequence of eight worksheets and tasks, downloadable informative posters, and video experiments. These differing formats allow children to learn about the air they breathe wherever they may be.
Noor, Electronics Engineer in Dyson’s Floorcare category
"I led the design of the electronics kit for a DIY air quality monitor. When we approached this project we had to think creatively. We put ourselves in the shoes of a 10-year-old and focused on designing an exciting introduction to sensing technology, hopefully inspiring children to get hands-on with monitoring air quality around their school. Building an air quality monitor and using it first-hand exposes young students to measurement techniques, scientific method and novice electronics. It is an experience that cannot be found in a textbook. It provides a better understanding of what contributes to air pollution and allows them to make environmentally conscious choices.”
Will, Design Engineer in Dyson’s Environmental Care category
“We can’t escape air quality issues because most of us now live in higher polluted areas, such as cities, which are getting bigger. I was motivated to support in the delivery of this project to not only demonstrate why I enjoy working in the field, but to inspire the next generation. It’s important for us to understand how air pollution can impact our health. I hope the resource empowers school children to pursue engineering careers and play a part in future solutions.
I've always learnt best through demonstration. The Foundation’s resource allows children to get hands-on and try out experiments to better understand the air they breathe.”
Air science at Dyson
Engineers, chemists and research scientists have spent nearly three decades understanding air science. Over 350 Dyson engineers globally are developing solutions to make the air we breathe cleaner.
Since 1993, Dyson engineers have been mastering airflow, the core principle behind engineering vacuum cleaners. In 2009, Dyson launched its first bladeless fan, using this expertise in airflow to provide a smooth, unbuffeted stream of cooling air. But this expertise in aerodynamics goes far beyond simply moving air. The cyclonic technology in Dyson vacuums uses air movement to remove particles from airflow, generating such high G-force that small particles are thrown from the air path.
As Dyson’s floorcare technology developed, knowledge of filtration progressed – learning how best to combine airflow and filter technology to engineer vacuums that expel cleaner air. From there, Dyson engineers began to tackle the particles in the air, not just in carpets, and reinvented more complex air treatment technologies, from heating to humidification.
Dyson purification technology is now in its sixth generation and counting, using fully-sealed HEPA filtration and intelligent sensing to control pollution in the home. There are still problems to solve, and Dyson is committed to understanding how design engineering can tackle global issues by most recently investing £1m in the Priestley Lab on Dyson’s Malmesbury campus to investigate Formaldehyde destruction.
Dyson is at the forefront of air quality research through ongoing partnerships with the air quality experts on the Dyson Scientific Advisory Board and pioneering institutions, such as Imperial College London. Dyson sensing technology continues to be used across the globe to measure indoor and outdoor air quality for academic research, and these collaborations simultaneously support Dyson’s product development through more accurate understanding of air quality issues as well as advance the scientific agenda in the air quality space.
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