Dust Busters to the Rescue

Lesson Goals:

Students will understand the importance of cleaning up and preventing indoor air pollution. Students will also understand that proactive behavior can minimize the harmful health effects of indoor air pollution and improve overall indoor air quality.

Curriculum Connections:



Language Arts

Video Tie-In:

What Can You Do? documentary

Glossary Terms:

dust mites, formaldehyde, lead, mold, pollution, radon, radon detector

Time Required:

One 40-minute class period

Activity Overview:

The clean up and prevention of indoor air pollutants can go a long way toward improving health and well being. This activity helps students develop a proactive approach to managing indoor air pollution. They will read a case studies, research the problem, and outline an action plan that will clean up the problem, restore a healthy indoor environment, and prevent or lesson the problem in the future. In the end, they will feel empowered to take steps that can have a positive effect on the air they breathe in their own homes and classrooms.


  1. Reproduce and distribute the Dust Busters Case Study to your class.

  2. Give students a chance to read the case study and then explain that they are going to be an important part of the Dust Busters team of Air Pollution Control Specialists who will help solve the Torres family's problems.

  3. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group one of the following pollutants: radon gas, dust mites, mold, formaldehyde.

  4. Challenge each team to find out as much as they can about their suspected pollutant. Have them look for clues of the pollutant in the case study, decide if and why they think the pollutant is making the Torres family sick, and then outline a clean-up and prevention action plan for how to solve the problem. You might want to bookmark the Web links below in advance to jumpstart students' research.

  5. Have each of the four teams present their research findings and Dust Buster action plans to the class. Discuss as a group how any or all of the pollutants identified by Pollution Busters could have contributed to the Torres family's problems. What other possible pollution sources did students identify during their research (new carpet allergies, animal dander, lead, asbestos, etc.)?

Web Links: