Air Pollution Lab

Particulate Air Pollution Lab

To develop an understanding of the number and type of particulates in the air around your home.

What location in home has the most particulate pollution?

Make a prediction about which location will have the most particulate pollution and be sure to include this in the introduction of your lab report.


  • masking tape
  • 7 index cards
  • petroleum jelly
  • Ziploc bags
  • magnifying glass


  1. Decide upon 6 locations in your school or home that you would like to test for particulate pollution. Record this in the data section.
  2. Write a hypothesis. Remember that your hypothesis should be in the form of a statement and answer the investigation question.
  3. Create 7 separate particulate collectors.
    1. Using a quarter make a circle in the center of each index card.
    2. Smear each index card with a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
    3. Write your name and location number on each card (one will be a control).
    4. Place each particulate collector in a Ziploc bag and close immediately.
  4. Remove the particulate collectors from their bags, and leave them exposed to the air at 6 locations where particulate levels may differ for 24 hours. Designate card #1 as a control and leave it sealed in the bag. (NOTE: if you want to hang the particulate collectors you can punch a small hole in one end and attach a piece of string.)
  5. After 24 hours retrieve the cards and place them back in their Ziploc bags. Examine the index cards, including your control, with a magnifying glass. Count the number of particulates that fell on each one within the circle and record these numbers in the data table.
  6. Examine and describe the particulates (identifying them if possible) and record this in your data table.


Example of Data Table:

Card # Description of Location # of Particulates Found Description of Particulates and Identification (if possible)
1 Control

Lab Report:

Create a lab report that includes the following elements:

  1. Introduction: This section should be in paragraph form and include the following elements:
    1. Describe particulate pollution.
    2. Give examples of particulate pollution.
    3. Describe some negative health effects of particulate pollution.
    4. Hypothesis
  2. Data: This section should include the following
    1. Completed data table.
    2. Bar graph comparing the number of particulates found in each location.
  3. Results/Conclusion: This section should be in paragraph form and include the answers to the following questions:
    1. Did your results support or refute your hypothesis? Why or why not?
    2. Summarize your results.
      1. How many particulates were found in each location?
      2. What types of particulates were found in each location?
      3. Is there any relationship between the particulates and the location they were found?
    3. What was the purpose of the control?
    4. What were some sources of error in your experiment?



From a Georgia Virtual Learning Assignment source