Air Quality Sensing Maker Week

We worked with the students from German Swiss International School to create an air quality monitoring system in their school. Over the 5 day Maker Week in our workshop, students learned about:

  • The Process of Invention
  • Citizen Science
  • Data Visualisation
  • Open Source Electronics
  • Coding (include API, JSON, HTML, Arduino)
  • Rapid Prototyping (such as 3D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting)
  • Woodwork
  • Metalwork, and
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Creativity

First, let’s see the outcomes: 5 creative inventions for air quality monitoring and data visualisation! Only in one week! By students with almost no prior experience. Well done young ladies and gents.

1. Air Quality Traffic Light (Team: Homeland Hurricane)

To visualise the air quality level (PM2.5 level), the team worked on building a traffic light that will be put at the school gate. Their aim is to inform both parents and schools about the air quality, so that people can make an informed decision on whether it is healthy to stay outdoor or need to cancel outdoor activities.

2. Air Sensing Plant (Team: Plant Equality)

Students designed a plant with LED strip surrounding it that changes colour according to the air quality data query from the smart citizen sensor API. The plant will be put in schools such as staircase and classroom to catch other students’ and teachers’ attention and be aware of the air quality problem in school.

Instructables: coming soon!

3. Air Drone

To measure air quality at different attitude. Students faced challenges such as making the drone to carry the sensor on the drone, which is not as easy as they thought. They learnt to be creative on the weight distribution!

  • Drone that measures PM 2.5 levels
  • Colour Changes (real time readings)
  • 3D mapping of air quality(every 5㎥)
  • Fly around different places measuring air quality


4. DIY Air Purifier

Create a device that can reliably test the efficiency of different purifying films and purify the air.


5. Air Sensing Blob Car

The team want to add some playful element to the dry topic on air quality. Thus, they worked on hacking a RC car to display and move around the school campus, to map out the air quality in school as well as catching students’ interest. This is their prototype v.1, they wish to make the car automated in their next prototype.

Day 1: Mapping air quality manually

  • Learn about citizen science
  • How to measure air quality
  • Assembly smart citizen kit and go around MakerBay to collect air quality data
  • Make a heat-map of air quality

Day 2: Ideation & Planning

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Dot voting
  • Form teams
  • Make a plan, draw out roadmap
  • Shopping
  • Learn about API

Day 3 – 4: Building

  • Learn to make an Android app to query air quality data from smart citizen API
  • Work on prototype 1
  • Fail…learn from failure

Day 5: Final testing & Presentation

Students shared their learning throughout this week and their project to parents.

Well done team! Go go Maker! Go go citizen science!

Students also shared about their takeaways from the Maker Week in their presentations, Have a look!

Mentorship Team:

  • Maria Li Lok Yee
  • Cesar Jung Harada
  • Kitty Lee Suet Ying
  • Chicky Ajoy Bhavnani
  • Christian
  • Leo Siu
  • Lauren Shum
  • Thomas Williams
  • Peter Pang

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Ms. Angie Zhou

Education Specialist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Angie Zhou is an Education Specialist at MIT App Inventor. She was the founder and CEO of Dreams Come True in Shenzhen, where she developed online coding courses for kids. She also has previous curriculum development, teaching and staff training experience at First Code Academy in Hong Kong.