Field Testing for Ground Level Ozone

Below I’ve included an outline for a guided inquiry research project I have plans to implement this spring.  If the pilot project goes well this spring, then I would expect to carry on across multiple years with different groups of students.  I’ve attached a pdf which provides valuable background as well as detailed procedural details for making Schoenbein Paper, an ozone indicator. field_testing_for_ozone

Field Testing for Ground Level Ozone
Goal: The goal of this project is create a rich context for learning that focuses on an authentic research task that is relevant to public health as well Earth’s ecology and environmental sustainability.

Rationale: The goals of this inquiry project are to foster enthusiasm for learning chemistry, the scientific method and experimental design, gain competency at working in teams, and to develop oral and written communication skills. The investigation should be performed during periods of peak ozone production, which occur during hot, humid atmospheric conditions (September and June for most schools). Late autumn and early spring conditions may also be monitored as base line data when ozone concentration can be expected to be lower.

Objectives:
1) Students will gain experience working in collaborative teams by performing a guided inquiry experiment.
2) Students will quantify ground level ozone concentration based on a color change using Schoenbein Paper and “Analyzing Digital Image” (ADI) software.
3) Students will be able to interpret chemical equations and explain how the interaction of light and matter may be used to quantify chemical change.
4) Students will interpret and communicate the results of their research in a written report and an oral presentation.
5) Students will be able to describe and explain, using graphical representations and models, a) the basic structure of Earth’s atmosphere, b) the ecological interaction of ozone in the troposphere and stratosphere, c) the chemistry of ozone production including concepts such as catalysis, d) the risks and physiological effects of exposure to ozone, and e) how natural and anthropogenic factors control the ozone concentration as well as how it is affected by chemicals released into the atmosphere.

Next Generation Science Standards:
• HS-PS1-5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
• HS-PS1-6 Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.
• HS-PS4-5 Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.
• Science and Engineering Practice 3 Planning and Carrying Out investigations.
• Science and Engineering Practice 4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data.
• Science and Engineering Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence.
Instructional Strategies:
• Internet Research—Students will research background information on tropospheric and stratospheric ozone. They will write a brief background statement (5 paragraphs and at least 2 supporting figures containing some type of data). The final draft background statement will be submitted as an introduction to a full lab report.
• Direct Instruction—The instructor will present additional information on the topic to fill in any gaps in basic knowledge, answer questions, and provide an overview of the materials and methods to be used in research.
• Guided Inquiry—Students will be provided with the question to be addressed, materials and methods.
• Cooperative Learning—Students will work in small groups adopting the role of either a) project manager, b) equipment technician, b) data manager.
• Presentation—Research teams will present a poster summary of their results in class as well as a larger science symposium open to the general public.
Materials:
• Potassium Iodide
• Starch
• Filter paper
• ADI Software
• Digital Camera
• High Wattage lamp (optional)
• Ozone Generator (optional)
• Ozone monitor (optional)
• Wet/dry bulb psychrometer (optional)

Resources:
• US EPA Air Quality Workshop “Field Testing Ground Level Ozone” A full explanation of research methods is provided here: field_testing_for_ozone or on the web at:
http://www.epa.gov/airnow/workshop_teachers/field_testing_for_ozone.pdf
• ADI Software: http://www.umassk12.net/adi/
• Ozone Solutions, Inc. http://www.ozonesolutions.com/

Activities
• Student Research (2 class periods; a draft background statement will be due on day four).
• Student preliminary presentations (1 class period)
• Instructor Presentation/Project Overview (2 class periods)
• Preparation of test paper and standard test samples (optional; 2 class periods, requires ozone monitor and ozone generator).
• Data Collection (2 class periods). Most likely monitor ozone in the vicinity of the morning bus drop offs.
• Data Analysis using ADI software (2 class periods).
• Report Write Up and Oral Presentations (4 class periods).
• Assignments: Text based readings with practice questions covering a) the scientific method; b) light as electromagnetic waves; c) chemical reactions; and d) catalysis.

Extension:
• The project may be performed qualitatively based on ranking the visible color change using a Schoenbein reference scale (available online). This approach has the advantage of simplifying the research methods, allowing students to focus on essential concepts. It also cuts the total time commitment by roughly half.
• As an extension, the project may be performed quantitatively by creating a set of known standards using an ozone generator and monitor.
• Either approach may be explored using ADI software, available as a free download.

Special Education: Specific to the needs of individuals based on IEP accommodations. Research teams will be chosen to maximize diversity within student groups. Project managers will be responsible for helping to assist other team members, as needed on a case by case basis.

Assessment:
• Individual lab reports including background research.
• Oral Presentations.
• Test (multiple choice and open response).

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