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Dust Catchers

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

Let’s Talk About It

Discuss the survey results with the class. Students should begin to understand that different amounts and kinds of dust particles are found in different rooms of a house. Ask them to identify rooms that tended to have more or less dust. Ask students, Did different kinds of dust collect on dust catchers in different rooms? 

Stimulate a discussion about the composition of household dust by asking, What is indoor dust made of? Tell students that dust and other particles in the air can come from tobacco smoke, animal dander (flakes of dead skin), insect parts, mold spores, fibers and dust mites. Mention that some people are allergic to one or more of these things.

Talk about ways in which household dust can be reduced or eliminated. Examples include installing clean air conditioning filters to help remove particles from the air, and keeping living areas dry and well ventilated. For people with allergies, removing curtains, rugs and other materials that collect dust can also be helpful.

Ask students how our bodies eliminate dust that is breathed in with air. Tell them that our respiratory systems have several defense mechanisms against dust and air pollutants. Some  particles are filtered out in the passages of the nose. When inhaled into the lungs, some particles get trapped in mucus and are transported up into the esophagus; others are surrounded and destroyed by special cells. Sneezing and coughing help prevent irritating gases and dusts from entering the respiratory system. 


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