Save Our Breath

Want to help keep the air clean? Ask your parents not to idle their cars for long periods of time at a drive-through bank, dry cleaner, or restaurant. Ask them to turn their motors off while they wait, even if it's only for a few minutes. Every minute is important.

Testing the Air

Testing the Air is a science project that teaches kids to test air quality. How clean is the air around your home?

What You'll Need:
  • Stiff cardboard
  • Safe scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • String
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Magnifying glass
  • Rubber bands
Learn How to Test the Air:

Step 1: With two simple tests, you can check the air for common pollutants. In the first test, measure how much dust, dirt, soot, and other floating material is in the air.

Step 2: To do this, cut two pieces of stiff cardboard into a four-inch square. Punch a hole on one corner of one piece and put a string through it for hanging. Coat both sides with petroleum jelly and hang the cardboard up under the eaves of your house.

Step 3: Coat one side of the second piece and lay it flat in the shade, also sheltered under the eaves of your house. Leave both pieces in place for a day.

Step 4: Examine both cardboard squares with a magnifying glass and see if you can count the number of small particles sticking to them. Which has more particles: the cardboard that was lying flat or the one hanging?

Step 5: To test for invisible gaseous pollutants, stretch three or four rubber bands over a piece of cardboard. Lay them in a shady place. Check the rubber bands each day. The faster they become brittle, the more pollutants there are in the air.

Step 6: Try both of these tests in two very different places to compare pollutant levels. You might try them in the middle of a city, then in a forest or in the country.

Learn how to make a Weather Station with your kids so that you can measure and predict the weather. Get directions for this science project on the next page of science projects for kids: weather and seasons.

Want more science projects you can do with your kids? Try: