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

Let's Look at the Results

Session 2

1. When all students have brought their dust catchers back to school, open a general discussion about the appearance of the dust catchers. (Some will have a visible sprinkling or layer of particles; others will have few or no visible particles.)

2. Have the Materials Managers collect enough hand lenses for their groups. Each student should examine the overall appearance of the dust on his or her dust catcher and, if time permits, on the dust catchers of other members of the group.

3. Have each student use a magnifier to count the number of particles in 10 squares chosen randomly on the grid. (You may need to vary the number of squares counted, depending on the type of graph paper used. Paper with a grid size of approximately 1 cm works well.)

4. Have each student record the number of particles he or she counted in the appropriate place on the “Make a Dust Catcher” sheet (if you have made a copy for each student), or have students write the number in their journals or notebooks.

5. If you have one or more microscopes available, help students to examine their grids under higher magnification. You may want to trim the construction paper around the graph paper square to help it fit under the microscope.

6. Ask, What kinds of particles did you capture? Students are likely to find small hairs, tiny pieces of ash, crumbs and bits of thread or lint. With the aid of microscopes, students also may see pollen grains, pieces of molds and very small insect parts. Have them draw some of the particles they have observed.

7. For further discussion, refer students to the various sources of household dust pictured on the front cover of the Air unit’s Explorations magazine.


Session 3

1. Conduct a brief survey of the values that students obtained for their dust counts. Create a chart on the board similar to the one on the right, taking into consideration the range of counts reported by the students.

2. Help each student place a dot or “sticky note,” labeled with the type of room tested, on the appropriate place on the graph.

3. Discuss the survey results with the class. Ask students to identify areas in their homes that have more or less dust. Also ask, Did different kinds of dust collect on dust catchers in different rooms? Talk about ways in which dust can be reduced or eliminated.


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