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  • This level 4 Connected article provides an introduction to big data and the internet of things and how they are used to address air pollution in Christchurch.

    The article explains how a research team used a variety of digital sensors to create a map of real-time air pollution levels across the city. People with respiratory disorders provided their GPS-tracked movements. City planners could use the data to clean up the most at-risk areas, and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could change their routes to reduce exposure. The article notes how other digital technologies can be used to make Christchurch (and other New Zealand cities) healthier and more sustainable.

    Sensing data contains several infographics that will be useful for practising the science capability ‘Interpret representations’.

    Rights: Crown 2017

    Connected article: Sensing data

    An article in the 2017 level 4 Connected journal ‘Where to next’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Background image, ‘Shaking intensity, Christchurch earthquake’ by Robert Simmon/NASA Earth Observatory.

    Check your school resource area for the article from the 2017 level 4 Connected journal ‘Where to next?’, download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Rights: Crown 2017

    2017 Connected level 4: Where to next?

    The cover of the 2017 level 4 Connected journal ‘Where to next?’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles ‘Sensing data’, ‘Turning old into new’, ‘Kauri dieback’ and ‘Global action’.

    Photograph by JMacPherson, CC-BY 2.0

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi (Word and PDF files available). The material highlights key ideas for the nature of science and the nature of technology. It contains two activities. The first involves the implications regarding the use of big data. The second uses Hub resources to investigate air pollution.

    Related content

    The most common form of air pollution is from particulates – small particles released from burning material. Scientists Dr Simon Kingham and Dr Peyman Zawar-Reza are researching the link between human health and the level of particulates. Learn more about this issue in the articles Air quality and Air pollution in Christchurch.

    Read the Connected article The Global Positioning System to find out GPS works, how it is used, its benefits and why we should still think about using paper maps at times.

    Kiwrious Science Experience – fostering NoS in the classroom is a Curious Minds-funded project that enables students to use sensors to collect, analyse and interpret data.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    The Clear the air collection supports the House of Science Clear the Air resource kit – but it is also useful for anyone interested in the human respiratory system and air quality/air pollution.

    Activity ideas

    Explore air quality issues further with the activities Investigating air pollution and Sources and effects of air pollution.

    Useful links

    Greater Christchurch Partnership has a page on air quality, complete with an interactive air quality map. Readers can also access data tables as downloadable spreadsheets.

    View data from the Environment Canterbury Regional Council monitoring air quality.

    The New Zealand Ministry of Health has information on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 29 August 2019 Referencing Hub articles
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