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In the Air Today

Activity Name: In the Air Today  

Field of Study: Environmental Science

Grade Level: 3rd through 5th

Time Required: Approximately 3 days

Description: Since the beginning of the Industrial Age, air pollution has been a problem. Vehicles and factories certainly add to our quality of life in the convenience they provide daily, but sometimes have a negative effect in our quality of air that surrounds us. In this activity, local air specimens can be collected and the quality can be analyzed by the student. This includes pollution and allergens existing in the air.


Skills to be Used: Observation, Classification, Measurement 

Materials: Four blank white index cards, four pieces of string about eight inches in length, pen, petroleum jelly, cotton swab, small re-closeable plastic bag, magnifying glass


1. Gather the listed materials.
2. Tape a piece of string to each of the index cards so that the cards can be hung in different places.
3.Label the four cards: “Inside My House,” “In My Yard,” “In My Neighborhood,” and “Control.”
4. Using the cotton swab, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the side of each card.
5. Hang the first card somewhere in the inside of your house, the second card in your yard, and the third card somewhere in your neighborhood. Hang them somewhere where they will not be disturbed for three days. Place the “Control” card inside the re-closeable plastic bag.
6. After three days, gather the index cards. Use the magnifying glass to examine the cards for signs of allergens and pollution. Compare the cards to the “Control” card. Record your findings.
7. Do some investigation online to answer these questions;
a. What causes allergens in the air?
b.What allergens are in the air we breathe?
c. What type of industries are around the home you live in?
d. What problems can these type of allergens and pollutants cause?
8. (For school or family use. Acknowledgement to


Skill Source : Mark W. Oleksak, PhD