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Schools Under the Microscope: Children measuring airborne microplastics in the classroom - Final Report

Sardo, Margarida; Williams, Ben; Jones, Verity

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Authors

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Dr Ben Williams Ben3.Williams@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Research Fellow in Air Quality Management

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Verity Jones Verity6.Jones@uwe.ac.uk
Associate Professor of Education



Abstract

Schools Under the Microscope was a citizen science project which extended the learning and development undertaken during the HOMEs Under the Microscope project by applying and adapting methods developed during HOMEs to the school context, to facilitate citizen and child-led research.
Using learnings from HOMEs, the project team developed education resources which were piloted in one primary school in Bristol within underrepresented communities/low socioeconomic demographic groups. The project ran July 2023-June 2024 and engaged with:
• 90 Year 6 schoolchildren (aged 10-11)
• three teachers
• five parents.
Teachers co-created resources while children measured airborne microfibres in schools and facilitated intergenerational participation with caregivers. This led to the development and sharing of new knowledge within this emerging field.
Main finding and outcomes:
• It was the first experience of citizen science for all the participants.
• School children and teachers enjoyed the activities and expressed interest in taking part in future citizen science projects.
• Children reported enjoyment at contributing to ‘real science’.
• The project helped raise awareness of citizen science and what a scientist is and what they do (‘not just potions and making things explode’ as stated by one child).
• Overall, the microfibres collection method was successful.
• However, some elements of the method work less well, such as the ability and expectation of children to see fibres under the microscope.
Future citizen science studies in schools should co-create materials and methods with both teachers and children to ensure there is methodological appropriateness and clear expectations of what the experience and outcomes will be.

Citation

Sardo, M., Williams, B., & Jones, V. Schools Under the Microscope: Children measuring airborne microplastics in the classroom - Final Report. UWE/UKRI

Report Type Project Report
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 4, 2024
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/12109965

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