MIDDLETOWN — Fifth-graders enrolled in an elementary school’s STEM Academy are eagerly awaiting the results of testing conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to see if their do-it-yourself air filter is capable of removing viruses and improving air quality.
Macdonough Elementary School uses project-based learning in its science, technology, engineering and mathematics-focused studies. “My students are curious. They’re problem-solvers. Those are the skills you need in the 21st century,” STEM Academy teacher John Ferrero said.
A student’s grandmother sent an article to his class in September about Corsi-Rosenthal filters, simple-to-make devices using a box fan and furnace filters, which inspired them to try and create their own to determine if they made the classroom “healthier,” he said.
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After wildfire smoke and the COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in demand for air purifiers, which can be expensive or out-of-stock, the “Corsi-Rosenthal” box was born.
The simple, inexpensive device is crafted from a box fan, MERV-13 air filters, and duct tape.
Ten-year-old Eniola Shokunbi, who lives in Middletown, Connecticut, had the idea to make the box with her classmates and conduct an experiment to see if better air quality improved student attendance. She reached out to researchers at the University of Connecticut, proposing a collaboration.
“She hand-wrote me a letter and I was so impressed,” said Marina Creed, the university’s Indoor Air Quality Initiative director and an adjunct instructor at the UConn’s School of Medicine.
The students decorated the box and dubbed it “Owl Force One.”
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A ﬁfth-grade class at Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School will be building do-it-yourself air ﬁlters out of furnace ﬁlters, a box fan and its box. The ﬁnished product will be taken to the Whitehouse in Washington D.C. to be presented by Marina A. Creed, a family nurse practitioner, UConn Health. One was presented to the Oﬃce of Science and Technology Policy for the White House on Sept. 9, 2022.
Take four air filters, like you use in your furnace. Tape them together so they form a cube.
Buy a box fan of the same size — 20 by 20 inches — and attach it to the top of the cube. Don’t throw away the box but use one side of it as the bottom of the cube, the other on top of the fan with a hole cut in the round shape of turning fan blades.
Read More at The Hartford Courant