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Dust Catchers

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Dust Catchers

In this activity related to indoor air pollution, learners build take-home dust catchers with wax paper and petroleum jelly. After a set monitoring period, learners conduct representative particle counts using a comparison grid. Learners will also graph the results. This activity can be enhanced by sharing the "Health Hazards of Lunar Dust" Podcast with learners (see related resource link). This resource includes background information, variation ideas and a handout for learners in both English and Spanish.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Baking soda (or cornstarch, baby powder, or dusty eraser)
  • Cotton balls
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Glue sticks
  • Knife, plastic (or spreader)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Wax paper
  • Hand lenses (magnifiers)
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands, large
  • Sheets of construction paper, 4-1/2 x 12 in. (see Setup)
  • Sheets of marked graph paper, 10 x 10 cm
  • Copies of Make a Dust Catcher student sheet


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
      • Respiration
      • Immune System
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Moreno, Nancy P.; Tharp, Barbara Z.; Dresden, Judith


  • All Rights Reserved, Baylor College of Medicine, ©2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), R25 ES06932
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), R25 ES010698


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