1. Description of Our Community
More than one-third of Taiwan's top 500 manufacturing industries set up factories in 29 industrial parks in Taoyuan. Although the factory emissions are not as bad as those in the south-central Taiwan, we still have air pollution problem. Since trailers or large trucks going in and out of Taoyuan every day, dust particles carried by these vehicles increase the concentration of suspended particles in the air. Furthermore, the monsoon blows offshore pollutant into Taoyuan, too. Due to these factors, suspended particles or pollutant are inevitably introduced to the atmosphere nearby our school, which is built in a residential area. People always say that air is one of the survival elements for human beings. It won't be too cautious to care about the air quality.
2. Summary of Our Project
In the past few months, our students had read a lot of stories about “the purple warning” or “PM2.5” on the front page or life page of newspapers. This motivated them to pay attention to the air quality, which affected our health and life a lot. However, the students only knew the terms. They didn't really know the meaning of these terms. For example, in one report, a kid rubbed his eye and got his cornea broken. The report said it was the suspended particles that caused the corneal damage. When the experts went deep into it, they found out that the ozone was the one to blame. Since the students had had little knowledge on air pollution and related topics, we decided to make the project learning. By doing it, we want to make teachers and students at our school value the importance of air. We want to care about the quality of air. The proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words”. We want to do something to improve the air so we can benefit people and ourselves.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
School network is academic network .Because members of team are students and teachers, it is mainly used for editing research data by computer and collecting related data by school network environment.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The Ability to Make Interviews Making an interview is quite different from shooting the breeze with our classmates. While interviewing unfamiliar people to get useful information, we need to make them understand our questions. In order not to digress from our project theme, our teachers taught us to develop questions from our mind map and rehearse the interviews in advance to lower our anxiety. *Professional Knowledge When we typed “air pollution” on any of search engines, we got a lot of commercial ads or articles written and re-posted by bloggers. Even our teachers couldn’t be sure about the accuracy. By interviewing doctors and executive officers from the Environmental Protection Bureau, we clarified many myths and confusing ideas. In order to give right information to our website viewers, we tried very hard to understand terms we didn’t know and reconfirm each piece of information. * Information Technology Skills A lot of hardware and software were used in the project. We used a recording device and digital cameras while making interviews. We used Word and Google forum to transcribe our interviews in relays. Some pictures were too dark or too bright and we had to make them recognizable with Photoscape. We really had a difficult time acquiring all these skills. Fortunately, all the hard work paid off at the end of the project.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
It took more than three months from deciding the theme to finishing the website. In the beginning, we surfed on the internet without specific ideas. Eventually, we verified each piece of information we’d got by interviewing experts and visiting air quality monitoring stations. We’ve come to profoundly understand that air pollution was not just two words on textbooks. It affects our health every day and even has a great influence on our future life style. Our parents have noticed our progress in the last few months. We used to accept answers given to us, but now we take the initiative to find answers on our own. We can not only confidently share our project with teachers and friends but also promote the ideas in our community. What a great way to know that there are many things in life worth learning and practicing.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Humanity and Sympathy The textbook says that sun, air and water are the three crucial survival elements. For us in Taiwan, these three elements come so easily that we tend to ignore their importance. By making the project, we've learned that polluted air may make people cough. Furthermore, it could result in cancers. Now, we're used to frequently checking air quality index before doing outdoor activities. We start to remind people we care and love of this issue, too. *Information and Technology Skills From collecting data to making the website, we used a lot of digital equipment and computer software, such as personal computers, digital cameras, Photocap, etc. We used digital cameras and a recording device while doing interviews. We used Photocap to frame and fix photos taken in the interview and the fieldtrip. We used personal computers to make website to share our project with people. *Active Exploration We found Information about air pollution from many sources. Some of them came alone with embedded advertisements. Some of them had been reposted for many times. Were these pieces of the information correct and useful? Not majoring at the topic, our school teachers wouldn't jump to conclusions, either. Their hesitation triggered our curiosity.We clarified our doubts by interviewing people or visiting places. With our teachers' instruction, we've had a whole new learning experience. *Field-crossing Learning Apart from sorting out data collected on the Internet, we also examined our previous knowledge about air pollution constantly. We stood on the roadside caculating traffic flow. We made forms to show the differences between the traffic flow around our school and that around San-min Park. We would like to present the project to all teachers and students at our school as well as people in our community.