Powerpoint slides used to present to BioQUEST

Why is Gramma wheezing?
Gramma Neevers came in from the sweltering heat, collapsed into a kitchen chair, wheezing. They
had just spent a full day touring the sites in Washington D.C. Her son, Bert, bustled in after her,
“Gramma, if your breathing gets any worse, we may have to
get you to a doctor. Even if it gets better, I’m not so sure we
should go see the fireworks tonight.”
Gramma shook her head stubbornly. “Now Bert, I didn’t come
to visit you to miss the Fourth of July fireworks. I think it’s this
heat… it’s got to be over a hundred degrees out. I just don’t
have these problems back in Aroostook County.”
Bert shook his head, “I don’t see how temperature has
anything to do with it, Gramma.”
Stacey, Bert’s wife, walked into the kitchen and gave
Gramma a quick hug, “I think she’s right, Bert. At the
hospital, we usually see more people with breathing
problems when it gets really hot. I overheard one of the doctors say that it has something to do
with ozone.”
“I don’t know, Stacey,” said Bert, doubtful, “it could be a lot of other things.”
“Hrm”, thought Gramma Neevers, pulling out her smartphone, “These two chowderheads don’t
know a darn thing. I need to get some facts!”
Using large pollution data sets in
introductory agriculture, biology, and
environmental classes
Group Members:
Justin Pruneski, Rich Rosecrance, Rob Swanson, Bruce Wiggins
Our goal is to create a case study module to investigate EPA air
pollution data, while identifying key components of the process
that can be applied to other data sets for further case
Target audience:
First-year college students (with suggestions for adding material for
more advanced courses). Some Excel skills assumed.
Instructor will be able to:
• Identify potential sources of data for students to explore
• Facilitate student exploration of prior knowledge and interests
• Guide students use of helpful resources and data sources
Students will be able to:
• Summarize the central issues of the case
• Develop a question that can be answered with big data
• Identify and access large data sets
• Use Microsoft Excel to manipulate data and perform statistical
• Use Microsoft Excel to make graphs and charts to visualize data
• Use data generated to support or refute their hypotheses
• Communicate their results and persuade their peers
General Structure of the lesson
From: "How to Use Investigative Cases with Examples"
Phase I
1. Introduce the Case - Students read the case and get (hopefully) get
invested in the topic
2. Recognize Potential Issues - Students reread to clear up confusion and
extract more info
3. Identify Major Themes - Students brainstorm what the case is about
4. Pose Specific Questions - Students brainstorm what they know about the
topic and what they want to know
Example: analysis of ozone data from EPA
Phase II
5. Obtain Additional Resources - Students explore what type of resource they
need to address their questions and try to find them
6. Define Problems - Students refine their questions
7. Design and Conduct Scientific Investigations - Students use available
resources to collect and analyze data to address their questions
Phase III
8. Produce Materials to Support Conclusions - Students communicate the
research of their investigation to the class and try to persuade them that their
conclusions are valid
EPA Site
Ozone levels (ppm) at 2 sampling sites--2011
Washington DC
Federal standard (0.075 ppm)
Aroostook County, Maine
Potential student questions with available resources
•The link between forest fires or other exceptional events and ozone. See this website:
•The relationship between weather conditions and air pollution levels. See later on for a more detailed
example. See http://weatherspark.com/ for one source of weather data
•The effect of city size or population on air pollution levels
•The effect of the number of vehicles on air pollution, or the amount of pollution produced from vehicles
in different eras
•Data for motor vehicle registrations per capita, from Gapminder USA http://www.gapminder.org/labs/
•Change in pollutant concentrations over time (This could be visualized using google motion chart, a
gadget within Google Docs)
•Comparing different pollutants (EPA site has data on CO, Pb, NO2, Ozone, PM10, PM2.5, and SO2)
•The effects of air pollution on particular health conditions (ex. asthma, lung cancer). Asthma measures:
•Are certain areas over/under the EPA standards (daily, monthly, yearly average). What is the right
•Comparison of US cities to other cities around the world (ex. Mexico City)
•If students are interested in the effect of elevation, they can google elevation data for the particular
cities/locations they are interested in
•Type and amount of energy use. Data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, in Excel format
•Agricultural data. Data for total acreage of farm land, from Gapminder USA
•Data for a number of different agricultural measures from the U.S. Census Bureau, in Excel Format
Interactive map of ozone sampling sites using Google Earth
Sampling Locations
Google Earth
Federal Pollution Standards
Pollutant Type
Primary and
Primary and
Primary and
Primary and
Primary and
0.14 ppm (365 μg/m3)
150 μg/m³
Averaging Time
35 μg/m³
9 ppm (10 mg/m³)
0.075 ppm (150 μg/m³)
0.053 ppm (100 μg/m³)
0.15 μg/m³
Rolling 3
Example of Weather Data
Example Weather
Effect of wind
Effect of temp
R = 0.034
R2 = 0.0012
The format and much of the instruction language for this case study was taken from Starting Point:
Teaching Entry level Geoscience website, specifically the How to Use Investigative Cases with Examples
webpage http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/icbl/how.html accessed 6/20/12
Anderson, W.; G.J. Prescott, S. Packham, J. Mullins, M. Brookes, and A. Seaton (2001). "Asthma admissions
and thunderstorms: a study of pollen, fungal spores, rainfall, and ozone". QJM: an International Journal of
Medicine (Oxford Journals) 94 (8): 429–433. DOI:10.1093/qjmed/94.8.429. PMID 11493720
Health Aspects of Air Pollution with Particulate Matter, Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide
Report on a WHO Working Group, Bonn, Germany 13–15 January 2003
Special thanks to:
Karen Lucci, Margaret Waterman, Kelly Sturner
Gary Morris for consultation on ozone and pollution issues

similar documents