Particulate Lesson

This lesson plan outlines an experiment in which students will be able to investigate particles found in the air. There is opportunity to extend this outside the walls of the classroom, hanging the "dirt catchers" outside, in the hall way, etc. The point in this experiment is to "catch" dust particles from the air. Students then investigate the particles, considering where they could be from.  This experiment shows how pollution from various sources gets caught in the air, even though we can not see it most of the time.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0407.2.1
Analyze the effects of changes in the environment on the stability of an ecosystem.
GLE 0507.2.3
Establish the connections between human activities and natural disasters and their impact on the environment.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 


Students will try to discover if there is dirt in the air.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • Have children do this at home, with parental supervision, and compare results.
  • Invite a guest to come in and speak on air pollution.

Helpful Hints


  • Cardboard squares
  • aluminum foil
  • scissors
  • string
  • petroleum jelly
  • hole puncher
  • Scotch tape
  • magnifying glasses