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  • We know that cold, damp homes are not good for our health, as explained in the article Damp homes and health risks. Ventilation is often recommended as a way to prevent dampness from accumulating. In this activity, students use electronic components to measure temperature and humidity levels in homes modelled from ice cream containers. They use data from the sensors to determine whether ventilation helps to reduce dampness.

    The activity supports several aspects of the digital technologies curriculum. Students have the option of gathering data using the supplied software (see SLH Sensor Suite Software download below, note that this is a 1.6 GB file) or using an extension activity to develop their own software code.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • build model houses with simple materials
    • discuss why scientists use models
    • discuss the use of a control in an experiment
    • follow instructions to assemble and test an electronic system
    • use the sensors to collect data
    • use, interpret and make sense of the data collected
    • make recommendations about home ventilation based on the data
    • develop their own code to operate the electronic system (optional).

    Nature of science

    Constructing, testing and debugging hardware is a task that scientists are often required to do. They need to have reasonable knowledge of how their equipment works to ensure data obtained from the equipment is reliably sourced.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • background information for teachers
    • equipment list
    • teacher instructions
    • student instructions.

    Related content

    Learn more about relative humidity, dewpoint, wet bulb/dry bulb measurement techniques and thermal comfort in the activity Relative humidity and thermal comfort.

    In this Connected article Lighting the sky with Raspberry Pi, discover how students created a digital light display for Matariki using Raspberry Pi computers.

    In this recorded webinar Stephen Ross shares digital tools to support students’ engagement with the science capabilities.


    This activity is inspired by a hygrothermal model house activity developed by Tim Bishop. The Science Learning Hub Sensor Suite software was developed by Daniel Schipper using the following open source software: Raspbian, GNU Tools and the Adafruit DHT11 library.

    Useful links

    For more about using a Raspberry Pi see the range of resources on the Raspberry Pi Foundation website.

    Take a look at our curation on Pinterest for more resources around healthy homes.

      Published 9 October 2017 Referencing Hub articles
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