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Participatory approach to learning about the environment in Clichy-sous-Bois

Air quality and sciences on the agenda for 200 secondary-school pupils

The Air Liquide Foundation is supporting the AirEdu-Kids project run by Sorbonne University’s fab lab. This experimental project has been designed for pupils who attend collège Louise Michel in Clichy-sous-Bois (north-east of Paris). It consists of developing and testing an air-quality analysis teaching kit and the undertaking of a field experiment at a later date. Sorbonne University plans to roll AirEdu-Kids out in other secondary schools.

Awareness-raising action

The purpose of the AirEdu-Kids project is to raise awareness of the environment, particularly air quality and citizen science, among secondary-school pupils. More than 200 pupils from collège Louise Michel in Clichy-sous-Bois will help create air analysis kits, take measurements and interpret the results. The data gathered will serve to compile massive data sets that shall be used by researchers. 

This “learning by doing” approach strengthens the connections between the different scientific disciplines taught (technology, physics/chemistry, life and Earth sciences) and seeks to encourage pupils to study science.

Scientific approach

The AirEdu-Kids project is divided into two phases:

  • The first six-month phase shall focus on developing and testing the teaching kits. The pupils will take part in:

- designing packages and printed circuit boards

- discussing how the sensors should be used

- calibrating the sensors with a reference tool

The kits will measure not only fine particles (PM10 and PM2.5) but also gases (nitrogen dioxide, ozone)

  • The second six-month phase shall be dedicated to conducting experiments with the kit in the field. The data from these experiments will then be interpreted

The sessions will be held at Sorbonne University’s fab lab or in the fab labs in Seine-Saint-Denis, and particularly the fab lab at collège Louise Michel in Clichy-sous-Bois. The fab lab programme comprises a global network of digital laboratories that are open to the public. Open-source technology is being used to run this project so that it can be replicated easily by other fab labs around the world.

Air pollution

The air-quality data gathered by the pupils shall be used by the group, AirCitizen, which publishes air-pollution maps. This initiative helps improve the general public’s knowledge of air pollution. Thanks to this project, Sorbonne University shall develop our understanding of air pollution, which is the first step towards a change in behaviour: use of alternative modes of transport, actions aimed at local authorities, etc. Raising awareness among and educating the youngest members of society is therefore a necessary step when trying to tackle environmental challenges.

Involvement of the Air Liquide Foundation

The Air Liquide Foundation is funding the development of around 50 teaching kits as well as the purchase of an air-quality analyser.