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Dust Catchers

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.


Encourage students to suggest variations of the investigation. For example, older students may enjoy making multiple dust catchers, so they can compare the number and kinds of particles found indoors and outdoors, or in different rooms in their houses or apartments. With young students, you may prefer to make dust catchers as a class project and position the catchers throughout the classroom.

If any of your students have allergies to dust or other substances, invite them to share their experiences with the class.

One character in the Air unit's student storybook, Mr. Slaptail’s Secret, suffers from several different common allergies. Ask students, Who is she? What does she do to help her allergies? Follow up by asking, Does anyone else in the story have allergy problems? 

Open a discussion on indoor air pollution elsewhere in the world. (It is a much greater problem in developing countries, where wood and coal still are used for cooking.) Ask students, Why do you think this might be so? 

Have students conduct a survey of asthma and allergy sufferers at school or at home. Ask, What types of allergens (substances that cause an allergic response) trigger each person’s asthma or allergy symptoms? Are their symptoms better or worse at certain times of the year? 

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education