How can maths help Stratford decide if three new concrete factories are too dirty?


Project Overview

In this project students worked for the OPCRD, a local activist group who were fighting against plans to build 3 concrete factories on the Olympic Park.  The OPCRD were arguing that the factories would be damaging to air quality of our local area, but didn’t have the maths to prove these concerns should be listened to.

Students were tasked with creating a report as part of the OPCRD’s evidence against the planning application that would map any impact that the proposed factories would have on air pollution in Newham.  We used mathematical modelling to predict the air pollution impact of the proposed concrete factories and produced a formal report to show these findings.

This project was in part an experiment in truly authentic learning; we took a real world problem that was yet to be solved and genuinely needed solving and set about solving it live, in real time. This required huge flexibility as goalposts and timing shifted around us but also gave the project real drive and purpose. Along the way we collaborated with an expert in modelling smoke plumes and wrote a press release that brought the BBC to School21. To succeed in having a real impact on our community (our report stopped the factories!) via maths and English was really exciting and empowering.