The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Science", because this is National Science Week. Science includes all sorts of practical activities and exploration and we have lots of different ideas in this carnival. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on science.
Photo by Olibac
Exploring with magnifiers can open up a fascinating new world to children. Looking at things with a magnifier also encourages children to look at objects closely and notice the details. This is an important skill for scientists (for example, it is essential in identifying plants and animals).
How does a magnifying glass work?
I want to briefly describe how a magnifier works. I’m not going to go into detail about types of microscopes, how a microscope works (apart from saying that they contain lens to magnify objects) or about how to use the microscope.
A lens is a curved shape you can see through. A magnifying lens is a convex lens that makes close objects appear larger. Both sides of the lens curve outward and it is thicker in the middle than on the edges.
When the magnifying lens is placed on top of an object it appears the same size. If you raise the lens the object appears larger. If you raise the lens too close to your eye the object will appear blurry.
When looking at objects through a magnifier, since things appear larger, you can discover small details that you might not otherwise be able to see.
To explain how to use the magnifier and get your child motivated to try play with magnifying lens, you might like to watch this video from Sid the Science Kid.
Some things to try with magnifiers or microscopes
While using the magnifying glass or microscope discuss with your child
Why do objects look different when magnified?
What can you see with the magnifying lens that you did not see before? Do you see any details like lines, dots, shapes or textures? Did you know those details were there before?
mark out a small area of ground and have your child use a magnifying glass to explore the area. Look at the grass or plants, the dirt, the rocks and so on. Are their any animals? Now try a small area of a tree trunk or a dead log, or look under a rock (with care that no nasties run out at you as you lift up the rock).
play a game of mystery pictures. You use the zoom on your camera to take close up pictures of everyday objects. Then have you child use the magnifying glass to hunt for and identify the objects shown in the pictures. See the Mystery Picture Challenge for a sample.
use and ink pad to stamp your fingerprints and look at the details. If you have a few children, turn it into a detective game by having the detective leave the room while one child makes a fingerprint. The detective should then examine everyone’s fingers to find who left the fingerprint.
budding detectives might also like to try and make a microdot. Use the computer to make a large black dot. Type a message in white on the dot then shrink it down so the writing is too small to read with the naked eye and print it out. Read the message with a magnifier.
when you lose something small (like the back of an earring)have your child use the magnifying glass to find it for you.
grow some mould and look at it with the magnifying glass (or microscope – but please look into appropriate safety procedures because mould can make you sick)
look at parts of your body up close – a strand of your hair, your skin, your fingernail
place some sugar and salt on black cardboard (keep them seperate) and look at the crystals up close. Do they look the same up close? What is the difference between sugar and salt? Can you find any other powders or crystals to explore (keep them non-toxic)?
look at sand from the beach. Collect sand from different parts of the beach. Does it look the same? Collect sand from different beaches. Do they look the same?
find more ideas of things to explore at An Introduction to Microscopy from Microscopy UK and at this page of Microscopy ideas. For many of the ideas you will need a microscope and be able to prepare slides.
use some other types of magnifiers such as binoculars or telescopes
see a variety of interesting specimens at the Exploratorium Microscope Imaging Station
try and identify the specimens at the Virtual Electron Microscope
explore how the amount of magnification changes what you can see at the Magnification Module
see pictures of the universe from the very large to the very small at Secret Worlds: The Universe Within
Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.
Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Science."
- CatWay at Adventures With Kids is Magnifying It by playing with magnifying glasses and microscopes to help your child explore the world of the very small.
- Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now was never very scientifically minded. One year, though, we participated in a homeschool co-op science fair. Two months later we moved and didn’t have the opportunity to participate in a science fair again. But that experience was a great learning opportunity – and, yes, it actually was fun!
- Monique from Your Cheeky Monkey is commencing on the road of learning about the Human Body (both inside and out). Find out a few of the things we are doing to learn about our amazing bodies!
- SMMART Ideas shows how you can enjoy making these sticky spiderwebs with your child, learn how spiders actually make their webs and other arachna-facts!
- Amanda B at
HomeAgesays that science is not her forte, but for young children the world is one big science lesson. How do we answer all their questions so that these answers are meanings rather than facts?
- Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple kid friendly activities to do to help attract birds into the garden.
- Deb from Science@home's daughter has decided to be an alienpologist, and she's reflecting on all the different ways kids are exposed to ideas and fun activities.
- Staci at Teaching Money to Kids has a
simple sorting activitythat kids can do anywhere to get them to observe and compare.
- Ash from Mm is for Me have been running their own family Science Week with lots of fun activities.