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In the Air and All Around

3.7 based on 10 ratings

Updated on Sep 18, 2014


3rd – 5th grades

Difficulty of Project

Less than $5.00

Safety Issues
Material Availability

Readily available or easily purchased at the grocery store

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

Three days to collect the data; one additional day to prepare the chart

To investigate the local air quality

  • 4 blank white index cards
  • 4 pieces of string about 8 inches in length
  • Pen
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton swab
  • Small re-closeable plastic bag
  • Magnifying glass

Since the beginning of the Industrial Age, air pollution has been a problem. Cars and factories add to our quality of life, yet take away from our quality of air.

In this investigation, local air quality is analyzed.


allergens: any substance that causes an allergic reaction; common allergens in our environment include pollen, dust, and grass

pollution: harmful substances in the air


Some allergens in the air are natural such as pollen, grass, and dust. Pollution is caused by unnatural substances in the air such as smoke. Both allergens and pollution affect the quality of air and how people breath.

Research Questions
  • What causes allergens in the air?
  • What allergens are in the air we breathe?
  • Do some places have more allergens than other places?
  • What health problems do allergens cause?

  1. Gather the necessary 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 swap, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly one 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.


“Ozone, Air Quality, and Asthma” at


Nancy Rogers Bosse has been involved in education for over forty years à first as a student, then as a teacher, and currently as a curriculum developer. For the last fifteen years she has combined a career in freelance curriculum development with parenthood à another important facet of education and probably the most challenging. Nancy lives in Henderson, Nevada with husband and their three teenagers.