Modeling How Dust Moves

Part of the "The Dust Bowl" Collection


Students will demonstrate how static electricity attracts dust.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required



  • S5E1. Students will identify surface features of the Earth caused by constructive and destructive processes.
    • a. Identify surface features caused by constructive processes.
      • Deposition (Deltas, sand dunes, etc.)
    • b. Identify and find examples of surface features caused by destructive processes.
      • Erosion (water—rivers and oceans, wind)
      • Weathering
      • Impact of organisms


  • Balloons


  1. Blow up balloons and model for students how to rub them against their heads to create static electricity.
  2. Then hold the balloons above an unplanted part of the garden with exposed dry soil to see how dirt can be picked up into the air by static electricity as it did during the giant dust storms. This can also be done indoors using dry soil or flour.