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Dust Catchers

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


This activity works best when the class is divided into groups of 4. Each group of students should share materials while making its own dust catcher.

Teacher Materials 

  • Baking soda (or cornstarch, baby powder, or a dusty eraser)
  • Cotton balls
  • Flashlight with batteries

Materials per group of students

  • Glue sticks
  • Plastic knife
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Wax paper

Materials per student

  • Hand lens (magnifier)
  • Pair of scissors
  • Large rubber band
  • ½ sheet of construction paper (4-1/2 x 12 in.; see Teacher Set-up)
  • Sheet of marked graph paper, 10 x 10 cm (Paper with grid size of approximately 1 cm works well.)
  • 4 copies of the student sheet


1. Cut sheets of 9x12 in construction paper in half lengthwise for dustcatchers.

2. Cut sheets of graph paper into 4 sections of 10x10 cm.

3. It is helpful to students if the teacher makes a template dust catcher for them to use as a model when they build their own.

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