In 2011, New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) worked with The Bank Street College of Education and City Lore to [further develop] an early iteration of a mobile tool that collects local environmental data. The team worked together to take the project from prototype to a replicable tool accompanied by an inquiry-based multi-disciplinary curriculum. The resulting Collect, Construct, Change (C3) mobile phone probe enables youth to measure environmental conditions, such as carbon monoxide levels, particulate matter, relative humidity, and noise pollution, and send the captured data to a smartphone app for recording and later exploration.
The C3 tool was piloted at the C3 Camp and afterschool programs at the New York Hall of Science. Students collected pollution information in Corona, Queens using the C3 tool and reported their findings to their local community.
Building on the pilot programs, New York Hall of Science refined the smartphone app into AirCasting, a mobile app with a richer, easier-to-interpret interface with a more robust air quality monitor. New York Hall of Science also enhanced its C3 curriculum and held C3 camps or after-school programs with partners, YMCA of Greater New York and Wagner College.
The inquiry-based multi-disciplinary C3 curriculum allows students to:
- Better understand sources of urban pollution and connections to health and environmental issues;
- Identify and investigate environmental issues in NYC neighborhoods;
- Develop skills required for data acquisition, production and synthesis;
- Enhance understanding of themselves as agents for change and the role of citizen advocacy in a democracy;
- Build narrative skills to communicate findings;
- Learn methodologies of scientific inquiry;
- Design and implement solutions to problems based on their findings.
Students are encouraged to communicate the results of their research via a range of different formats and technologies, including blogs, PSAs, online videos and in-person presentations to local community stakeholders.
This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust in 2011 and 2012.
An app developed by HabitatMap for recording and sharing health and environmental data via a smartphone.
A blog entry about the C3 campers’ investigative fieldwork on pollution and public education around environmental issues.
Photographs of C3 Camp, 2013.