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ACTIVITY 3: What does a particle look like

Introduction: Many particles may cause harmful effects on a person’s health, this is one of the main reasons why scientists continue to study our air and the particles it contains. One of the ways to collect samples is by a high-volume sampler. it uses a pump to pull air through a filter and it traps particles that are a certain size. The longer the pump runs, the bigger the number of particles will get trapped. Another way to collect particles is for them to settle on a sticky surface, such as tape. This will work well with coarse particles because they settle quickly. Coarse particles are larger which means you can view them, with a microscope or lens.

Learning Outcomes: When you complete this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Understand that particles have different sizes and why this is important;
  • Know how to differentiate between coarse particles and fine particles in the microscope.



  • Take two index cards and fold them in half.
  • Punch a hole in the middle of one side for each index card. Make sure the hole is no bigger than the width of the tape.
  • Fold ½ inch on each end of the index cards, this will allow them to stand.
  • Place the tape over the hole of each card, the sticky side must face outside the fold.
  • Place each of the cards in different locations for a certain amount of time. Secure the card with tape, record where you placed the cards and how long they were there.
  • Take note of the surroundings that might produce particles.
  • If you are collecting particles away from the classroom, place each of your cards in its own plastic bag to keep them protected between your sampling time and class period.
  • If you are using a microscope, gently peel your exposed tape off of the card and stick it to your microscope slide. If you're using a hand lens, be sure to keep your card sticky side up.
  • Examine a clean piece of tape first. Now examine your exposed tape.
  • Count the number of particles you see by size and record the numbers in the table below.
  • Compare your results with your classmates results.


curriculumair3.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/15 18:57 by jwood