Published On: Fri, May 24th, 2019

First School In Florida To Have Cutting-Edge Air Quality Measuring Device

5th Grade Students test “Air Quality” on Campus Parking Lot for Science Exhibition

Saint Andrew’s is the First School in Florida to have Cutting-Edge Air Quality Measuring Device –  the PocketLab Air

Boca Raton, FL – Students at Saint Andrew’s School caught wind of startling air pollution statistics during their studies which inspired them to take action and make a difference in their community. With a little help from a Stanford professor and COO of a company in Silicon Valley, SA students in 5th Grade are now in possession of a scientific tool very few other students or adults in the US have access to – a cutting-edge handheld device that measures air quality. The device is called the PocketLab Air.

In fact, Saint Andrew’s School is the first school in Florida to have such an innovative piece of equipment. The little handheld device, about as big as an iPhone, stands in stark contrast to sizable scientific grade air quality sensors used by the EPA or at a university. Those devices are much larger, cost anywhere from $20,000 to over $50,000, and are completely stationary.

Holding the PocketLab Air in the palm of their hands, students conducted experiments measuring air quality during morning drop-off, as cars idled in lines in front of the school. Then they measured the quality of the air later in the day when the parking lot was relatively free of idling cars.

After hours of air quality experimentation, students determined results that all residents of South Florida would find startling. “The difference in carbon dioxide levels according to the PocketLab Air devise was enormous,” said Ashley Egbert, Saint Andrew’s 5th-grader.

While cars were running, the Pocket Air device measured high levels of carbon dioxide at 1,080 ppm. “After we measured the air around the cars for about 10 minutes, we decided to put the device closer to an exhaust pipe of a running car, and test the carbon dioxide levels there. The levels went up by 300 points,” said Egbert.

“Later in the day when we measured the air quality of our parking lot with no running cars, we measured the carbon dioxide level at 663 ppm, which shows just how many more toxins we are breathing in because of fossil fuel emissions,” she added.

Ashley Egbert together with classmates, Eli Cornell, Keely McGahee, and David Capeti, presented their scientific findings to the Saint Andrew’s School community during the IB/PYP Exhibition on Thursday, May 2 at the new Dr. Albert Cohen Family Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Currently, there is no other portable low-cost product like PocketLab Air on the market. Other than are a few nice inexpensive hobby systems, which have limited measurement capabilities, PocketLab Air is the only low-cost hand-held device today that measures more than one air quality indicator and Saint Andrew’s School is the first school at the PreK-12 or University level to use this technology.

The COO of PocketLab Air, Dave Bakker, was a critical partner in making this data available to Saint Andrew’s 5th-grade students and to South Florida with the help of his friend and Upper School teacher, Mr. Jim Scheidegger. “I want to say congratulations to Saint Andrew’s School,” offered Bakker. “You are the first school in Florida to be using the PocketLab Air!”

The company is also starting to work with top-notch University programs committed to climate science including Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and Berkeley University. “There are probably several universities in Florida that would be interested in having a PocketLab Air device, but we having gotten that far yet,” offered Bakker.

Dave Bakker can count the students of Saint Andrew’s School and their trailblazing use of the PocketLab Air device to inspire others in South Florida, including local schools and universities, to follow our lead as we work to clear the air.

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