It’s National Children’s Week (22 October – 30 October 2022) and Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) is celebrating the talents, skills and abilities of all students.
Children have the right to a standard of living that supports their wellbeing and healthy development, which is why Mater Dei Catholic Primary School Ashgrove West students set to work to create a cheap and effective way to monitor rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
Their aim is to contribute to the study of how to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission within Australian classrooms.
With the help of The University of Queensland (UQ) and Research Fellow and Behavioural Scientist Dr Stephen Snow, the students designed a CO2 sensor that could be used in classrooms to read CO2 levels.
The sensor also alerts students and teachers when CO2 levels are too high.
Principal of Mater Dei Catholic Primary School Donna Jones said in 2021, a group of the school’s Year 5 and Year 6 students volunteered to be part of a UQ science research project called Study Fresh, led by Dr Snow.
“The project centred around making loggers that collects data from a variety of schools to record the amount of CO2 in classrooms,” Ms Jones said.
“Our students were then inspired to create a CO2 sensor, which they later entered into the 2022 BCE STEM MAD Showcase.
“To create the CO2 sensor, the students coded the microbit to output live CO2 data, with the microbit also coded to sound an alarm when CO2 levels exceeded safe levels.
“As a result, the students learnt that if they used cross ventilation in the classrooms, which would reduce the amount of CO2 in the learning space.
“The students then reported back to Dr Snow, who was so impressed by their invention that he invited ABC Brisbane to interview the students about the design.
“Clean air is so important to children and young people, and children have the right to a clean environment.
“This invention not only promotes child wellbeing, but also promotes the concept that a clean physical environment can significantly influence early childhood development.
“Through this invention our students are making a difference in the world, with a cost-effective invention which easily monitors CO2 levels in their classrooms.
“I am extremely proud of their willingness to want to make a difference in the lives of other students across Australia.
It’s been a really powerful experience to see our students making a difference not only within our classrooms, but also hopefully other Australian schools too.
“The students involved in the project have been so proactive in reminding other children and teachers about keeping their classrooms ventilated.