Lugo de Llanera Primary School – Take a peek inside our English classes


Science Week 2013: Air Pollution Catcher

We love Science! We learnt about our respiratory system in November and we realised how much the air we breathe is polluted by conducting a simple Science experiment. We tested different areas to assess levels of air pollution in our school and community.

Question: Is the air  we breathe polluted?


  • Index cards
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Sellotape and masking tape
  • Cotton wool
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch


We were divided into cooperative learning groups of four students and we labelled each index card with the location where it was going to be placed: playground, window, door, gate, gym, teacher´s car…

Then we smeared petroleum jelly on the middle area of an index card. The air pollution particles (those that are visible) would stick to the petroleum jelly.

Hypothesis: Will the cards have air pollutants stuck to the petroleum jelly? If so, which area will have the most air pollution stuck to the petroleum jelly?


We taped the index cards to the areas being tested for air pollution, we observed then for several days and we collected data about those and registered the information. Then, we determined which of the cards has the most air pollution particles on it. We reflected on our hypotheses and determined if it was correct.
We discussed  the results of the experiment and drew conclusions.

Scientific evidence and Conclusion:

Further reflections: Why did some of the cards collect more pollution than others? Can we do anything to change the amount of air pollution particles in those areas (e.g., close the window to the classroom or their home, ride their bikes on streets with less traffic)?


  1. Amazing! What a great experiment!
    I really like it but now I’m very worried because the dirt on your air catcher is the same thing that we all breathe every day. The good news is that there are ways we can help to keep our air clean. Remember: We are the solution to air pollution!

  2. Carla

    The experiment are very good?

  3. Carla

    Good job.

  4. keilamaria lopez

    Very cool, you have to do more!!!

  5. How does this project work? why do the particles collect onto the pieces with vaseline?

    • Teacher Piedad

      Little tiny particles that are floating into the air (pollutants)are stuck on the cards because of the the petroleum jelly, which is colourless, translucent,and it does not oxidize on exposure to the air. It is not readily acted on by chemical reagents. It is insoluble in water. It works as “glue” on this case.

    • Vaibhavi gor

      Ya I have actually done it in my science exhibition

  6. Lixe

    Love it! Good job! Thank you for caring about our earth!

    • Teacher Piedad

      Thanks, Lixe. We are glad that you like it.
      I agree on caring about Earth.
      It´s everyone´s responsibility.

      • Lixe

        Totally! Can you show me more ways to help the Earth.

        • Teacher Piedad

          My tips:
          Another way is 3R. Remember: reuse, reduce, recycle.
          You can grow a school garden, you can walk, bike, or use public transportation.

  7. Lixe

    Thank you very much

  8. Lixe

    I own a community garden and a personal one

  9. Lixe

    Thank you.

  10. Can little black pollutants be seen after you stay it for 6 hours beside the air conditioner?

    • Teacher Piedad

      I do not know. We have not tried that. Are you testing that? Please, let us know the results and conclusions.

  11. Well after 6 hours, it doesn’t show any little black pollutants onto the plate when I placed it infront of the air-con so I tried it once more but I placed the plate outside of the air-con with the same amount of time but the petroleum jelly only melt and I don’t see any black particles onto the plate.

    • Teacher Piedad

      Good to know. Have you tried waiting for more than six hours? We observed those cards during a week. It also depends on the area and the weather/season. Maybe you are lucky and there is no pollution in your area.

  12. joyjoy

    whats the science behind it

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