In this lesson, students place "pollution detectors" at various locations near their school capture and examine the air particles they collect to get an idea how much dust, pollen and other particulate matter is present in the air around them. Students share their data, create a map with details of their findings, and hypothesize as to why some locations have more particles than others. They explore why engineers count particulate matter when observing air quality.
Resources provided include the lesson plan, materials list, a student worksheet, a post-activity assessment, and extension activities. The teacher may want to include the previous activity in TeachEngineering curriculum “The Air We Breathe” at https://www.teachengineering.org/lessons/view/cub_enveng_lesson07 as well as the next activity “Cleaning the Air” - https://www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/cub_enveng_lesson07_activity2 to provide a fuller picture of human impact on Earth.
The lesson should take 2-3 class periods. Ideally the pollution detectors should be left in place for a couple of days, or at least 24 hours minimum.