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

Make a Dust Catcher

Complete instructions for conducting activities in this slide set, including materials needed, setup instructions, student sheets (in English and in Spanish), answer keys and extensions, can be found in The Science of Air Teacher’s Guide, which is available free-of-charge at

Session 1

1. Create a small cloud by shaking a cotton ball dipped in baking soda (or cornstarch or baby powder, or use a dusty eraser; see PDF Safety note). Shine a flashlight through the dust cloud. Ask, What are we seeing? Do you think this always is in air? How could we find out?

2. Show students the dust catcher that you have made and explain that they each will make a similar one to take home. They will place the dust catchers in areas of their homes they predict will have the most air pollution. After one or two weeks, they will bring the dust catchers back to school and examine them for particles.

3. Guide students as they construct their dust catchers, following steps described on the “Make a Dust Catcher” student sheet (steps 1-6 above)

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

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