Initial Publication Date: November 21, 2008

Air Quality Measurements and Potential Health Effects

Contributors: Jim McDougal, Wumi Alabi, Suzanne O'Connell
Developed at the 2008 workshop, The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience.

Course level: intro

Description of the metacognitive tactic:
Analyze and evaluate air quality data and relate it to their health and the health of their community. In small groups have students look at air quality data. Do they understand what is being shown? Evaluate the usefulnes of the websites in answering the questions proposed by the instructor. What additional questions are raised by the information they have collected.

This could be used for other substances, asbestos, radon, lead, mercury, etc.

Goals for using this tactic

  • Learning goals:
    Analyze air quality data. We want students to be able to identify reliable data, understand how it is collected and related it to class readings about health.
  • Self-regulation goals:
    Have student groups (3-4) select 3 websites to evaluate and determine their usefulness in answering the proposed question (provided by instructor). What x questions do they still have after looking at the data from the websites.

How this tactic helps students meet that goal:
Read medical/public articles prior to class. In class in groups ask about the air quality data, what it means and how it varies by location (Middletown and their home town). Discuss abundance of data, length of time collected, seasonal and diurnal variation.

See more examples of strategies for teaching metacognition