19. Improve air quality around London’s schools

By Martin Crabbe | March 20 2019

19. Improve air quality around London’s schools

Blog Category: Campaign updateBlog Tags: Education and Education

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    #Love London. Love the World

    Climate Action 19: Improve air quality around London’s schools (Global Goal 3)

    Target audience: Key Stage 3 Chemistry students 

    1. London Refuelled

    With a population of over 8 million and many people commuting to London for work every day, transport is a key issue for everyone. London has seen amazing transport developments in terms of the DLR, River boats, the Javelin trains used during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and Cross Rail. London’s iconic symbols, London buses, London taxis, the London Eye and the Emirates, show the amazing nature of modern technology and how this has developed to cope with the movement of such large numbers of people. However the reliance on combustion for transport over time has resulted in problems of pollution.

    To address this new technologies have been developed, such as electric cars and catalytic converters for buses. Social solutions, intended to change behaviours, have also been implemented, including the Congestion Charge Zone and the Low Emission Zone. Students will study the basic chemistry of combustion, looking at different fuels and their energy output as well as possible contribution to pollution. Their ability to represent reactions using words diagrams and symbols will be developed. Students will study the carbon cycle and consider how transport adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

    Throughout the topic key questions will be considered:

    • What is the chemistry behind transport in today’s city and in the past?
    • What are the solutions for the future?
    • Should buses and taxis be banned from Oxford Street and other major shopping streets where air quality is currently very poor?
    • What fuels should we use to reduce air pollution?

    With special thanks to the Museum of London and UCL (Institute of Education)

    Click here to go to the resource ‘London Refuelled’

    1. The Mayor’s school air quality audit programme

    The Mayor is concerned about poor air quality around London’s schools. Breathing in dirty air can affect children’s health and well-being. That’s why he has audited 50 primary schools in the city’s most polluted areas.

    The audits have made recommendations to reduce emissions and exposure. They include:

    • moving school entrances and play areas away from busy roads
    • ‘no engine idling’ schemes to reduce emissions from the school run
    • reducing emissions from boilers, kitchens and other sources
    • local road changes including better road layouts, restricting the most polluting vehicles around schools and pedestrianisation by school entrances
    • adding green infrastructure like ‘barrier bushes’ along busy roads and in playgrounds to help filter fumes
    • encouraging students to walk and cycle to school along less polluted routes

    Click here to find out more about, and to get involved in, The Mayor’s school air quality programme

    1. Background to this resource

    This project aims to:

    1. Connect London’s schools to great resources based on their city and
    2. To suggest ways to introduce a global perspective to their work.

    Each blog will be based on two major curriculum resources available freely to teachers:

    1. The London Curriculum– developed by experts in their field working in partnership with the Mayor of London and his Education and Youth team.
    2. The World’s Largest Lesson– produced by Project Everyone in partnership with Unicef to help schools address three major challenges:
    • End extreme poverty
    • Fight inequality and injustice
    • Tackle climate change

    Each blog will aim to provide ways for teachers to reflect on these big issues through their own contexts, subject areas and from a London perspective.

    Thanks to the teams at City Hall and Project Everyone for providing these great resources. Some of my blog has been adapted from their websites.

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Martin Crabbe