Out and About for Clean Air Day

By Alison Holland

Published: June 26, 2019


(1 minute read)

20th June 2019 was Clean Air Day; a day to reflect on the benefits of reducing pollution and to consider what we can do to make the air around us better to breathe.

Brightkidz Alison and Fiona turned up on a lovely sunny day to take Year 3 pupils from Hawthorn Primary School, Kettering on a walk around the local area and to explore lichen and traffic.

The first part of the session was spent in the classroom, introducing the walk, the objectives and the route to the class. Year 3 were extremely knowledgeable and shared some great ideas about their local area, pollution and could even tell us a little bit about lichen!

We spent some time using maps to route plan and pick up some map-reading skills with a challenge to pick out local landmarks such as Wicksteed Park and the town centre.

Finally, the moment arrived to go out of the school and the class walked beautifully in their school-branded hi-vis waistcoats (great for group monitoring) while observing various things around them. Some of the pupils had borrowed Brightkidz pedometers, so they could measure how many steps they took on the trip. The first stop was at the edge of a park to observe traffic on a busy road. The class worked in groups to count different types of vehicle, pedestrian and other road users, which they logged on a sheet. They then moved further into the park, behind the trees and away from the noise of the traffic. Here there was the opportunity to breathe in the air and discuss why the air might seem a little fresher among the trees. The class also listened to difference in noises in the park compared to by the road.

Then the lichen hunt began!

Using a sheet showing lichens that like pollution and some that prefer clean air, the class looked at the tree bark, noting their observations. Some even found some twigs on the ground, which had excellent examples of different lichens, so these were kept for a display back in the classroom.

The lichen found on a tree next to the busy road was different – and as a ‘pollution-loving’ kind showed the difference in the air quality between the two locations.

The walk back to school revealed that lichens are everywhere! Children were spotting them on the pavement, walls and trees all the way back to the school. The “step count challenge” reached its peak as everyone arrived back at school, showing that a sense of competition really helps to get children active!

The session was great fun and even the teachers and assistants with us had a lovely time exploring the local environment. The children learned about their local area and about the effects of pollution, plus the activity counted towards their Modeshift STARS active travel award.

Kids in hivises doing a task. Kids doing a task. Kids in hivises.

More about ST:EPS

This activity was part of our Brightkidz ST:EPS project (Safe Travel: Enabling Pupils and Schools) which we are trialling with schools in the Kettering area to delivering curriculum-focused sessions to support the message of active travel. Hawthorn Primary School’s ST:EPS project is funded by Cllr Maggie Don. 

 If your school is interested in taking part in ST:EPS, or if your organisation or business is interested in supporting a Kettering area school to take part, please get in touch. We are also open to working with partners to develop ST:EPS further afield and make our resources more widely available. 

For more information, contact us: https://brightkidz.co.uk/about-us/contact-us/