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What's in the Air?

Learn about pollution with this experiment.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Critical Thinking
Math
Observation
Experimentation

What you need:

  • wax paper
  • petroleum jelly
  • hole punch
  • string
  • masking tape
  • magnifying glass

What to do:

  1. Ask your child how much she knows about what's in the air pollution, dust, pollen, and so forth. Ask her if she'd like to be an "air detective" to find out more about what is in the air.
  2. You and your child can make "air detectors" by cutting out pieces of wax paper, spreading a thin layer of petroleum jelly on them, and hanging them outside. Suggest a variety of places to hang them a tree, a fence, on a building, near the street.
  3. Collect the air detectors the next day. Look at them under a magnifying glass. What do you see? What differences are there between air detectors hung in a place where there are cars traveling and those hung in a park or backyard? Are some of the particles from plants and trees? Explain that the other particles are probably the result of pollution. Talk together about what may cause the pollution your child's detectors caught cars, factories, planes, and so on.

Learning benefits:

  • builds observation and recording skills
  • encourages an awareness of the environment
  • develops critical-thinking skills

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