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Sep 7, 2012



OBJECTIVE: Exploring tools of discovery, Identifying tools that help us observe

VOCABULARY: binoculars, camera, discovery, eyeglasses, hand lens, microscope, telescope (optional/we used pics off the computer)

MATERIALS: worksheet

Children "discover" by using all their senses.  Students have been introduced to the five senses of hearing, touching, smelling, seeing and tasting.

Scientists and inventors have invented “tools” that help us to experience each of the senses in more detail.

The sense of sight probably has the most tools to help us observe and discover new objects.  Telescopes help us see the rest of the Universe, that we cannot feel, smell or taste.  We have instruments that can detect sounds that might help us understand our Solar System or the inside of our Earth.  Microscopes help us look at little things that we cannot see with the naked eye.   

  1. Ask students how they can see better.  As students respond, draw or write the "tool" they mention.  Display pictures of the items. 
  2. The following is a guide to help direct students comments.  Make sure you draw a simple stick figure so students have a guide when they draw.  Reinforce the concept that tools of discovery help scientists to see the world better.  Have students draw a picture of each of the instruments on the worksheet.

eyeglasses          helps people see                            
hand lens enlarges things
microscope makes little things large 
telescope makes very far things seem near
binoculars makes far things seem near
cameras records what we see

Continuing from yesterday we finished up our three part study on magnification and using the sense of sight to discover new ways of looking at and through things. Of couse the boys mostly wanted to play with the microscope while Sweet Pea ran around with the hand lenses (the non-expensive equipment ;). We wrapped the study by using the worksheet to make our own drawings of each object. Surprisingly they drew the pictures well enough to tell what was what. Again find the lab and fun others at Applied Science.

Happy Science Study,



OBJECTIVE: Comparing a microscope to a hand lens, exploring how objects can appear larger.

VOCABULARY: hand lens, magnify, microscope

MATERIALS: Microscope, magnifiers, paper strips


  1. Read The Naked Eye to children.  Make sure you go over some of the words in the storybooks by reading it first and then go back through the story and identify words that may be new to kindergartens.  Usually the picture helps explain the new word.
  2. The object of this lab is for students to decide whether the microscope or a hand lens makes an object more distinct.  Students will "vote" at each station whether the hand lens or the microscope makes the object larger.  Remember, you must have two identical objects if you did not purchase the kit.  Use the same kind of magnifier at each station.
  3. Review the use of the microscope.
  4. Students may have difficulty in looking through a microscope.  One eye should be closed and the opened eye should look through the tube.  You may want to use "pirate patches" over one eye or have the students put their hand over one eye.  This helps students see more easily through the microscope.  Do not have the students adjust the microscope.  Focus the material for students.  Remember the 2.5 objective is about 5.5 cm away from the object.
  5. Give students 15 LARGE and 15 VERY LARGE strips of paper to be used for voting.  Emphasize that you want your students to analyze how clear the image is.
  6. Have students go to different stations that are prepared with two similar items (you can limit the stations but we suggest 15).  Put one of the items under the microscope and examine the other item with the hand lens.  On the microscope use the reflected light option.  Children at this age have trouble looking at a thin section.  If you have not purchased the kit, select items that the children are familiar with like feathers, sand, fabric, seeds, dirt, or any other available items.
  7. After looking at both items, have students "vote" on the hand lense or microscope  that makes the item look the largest (VERY LARGE) and the instrument that  they think is not the largest, have them put (LARGE).
  8. After the students have been to all the stations, go to each station and count the number of votes.  Hopefully all the microscopes will win.  Discuss how the microscope makes objects more distinct and shows more detail.
  9. If you do not have the Swift-GH microscope or Prism Microscope, you may want to use another  hand lens.

 Junior really enjoyed this lab. He was completely taken back by how things look through the microscope. Especially this leaf from a flower. He thought is had "hairy legs like dad" which were not visible to the naked eye. 

A list of objects we used: key, leaf, flower pedal, ant, fly wing, ribbon, sand, dirt, rock, dime, celery, onion skin, dog tag, bread, hair, rice grain.

Also we did use a pirate eye patch for my Little Engineer but Jr. quickly learned how to shut one eye well enough to not need it. 

The boys really liked using the microscope and I have a feeling that we will be using it again just for fun.

This was a great lab and would highly recommend it for all you homeschoolers. Making little ones aware of the "microworld" really broadens their understanding of things and now it makes sense when I say "wash the germs off your hands" because they actually believe that their are germs now that they can't see but know are there ;)


Find this lab at Elementary/K/Applied Science/Lab C/comparing a microscope to a hand lens


Applied Science: Exploring Magnification


OBJECTIVE: Exploring Magnification, Discovering components of the micro world.

VOCABULARY: magnification, microscope

MATERIALS: book Greg's Microscope by Milicent E. Selson (borrowed ours from the library), coloring exercise, crayons

Greg's Microscope (I Can Read Book 3)
The microworld is different than the world we live in.  A grain of sand can become a boulder to a protozoa that wants to get around it.  A small obstacle for humans can be a challenge to the microworld. 

Very small organisms look different because they have different requirements than we do.  Their bodies look different than ours because they have adapted to a very small world.  There are microworlds in our refrigerator, in our bathroom, in our carpets, and in our hair!  Germs, which include many different types of organisms, are also part of the microworld.

The book, Greg's Microscope, will get students excited about looking through a microscope.  Greg and his family have so much fun, students will anticipate the coming lab.

  1. Read the book, Greg’s Microscope to students.  This reading exercise explains that microscopes make small things seem large.  Explain that the microscope is a tool to see items in more detail.  Our eyes are limited in the amount of detail it can see.  If we didn't have these tools we could not see the microworld.
  2. Discuss that the prefix " micro-" means small.  Anytime you see this in a word you should think "small."  The opposite of "micro-," is "macro-," which means large.  The terms microbe (small organisms), microbiologist (a scientist that studies small things), micropaleontology (the study of small fossils), and even microscope (a scope that looks at small things) are examples.
  3. The coloring exercise is to prepare the students for what they might see under the microscope.  Discuss what sand, a leaf, and a feather will look like under the microscope.  If you have the appropriate objects have the students look at them.  Have them draw a line from the word and picture to the appropriate magnification. 


This is the third week of science for us and so far it quickly become the favorite subject. Hands on activities and exploring new topics every week has been a blast. Part 1of 3 for this topic was simple and fun but still learning something.
Find the full curriculum at Elementary/Applied Science(K)/"Tools of Discovery"/Lab C/pre lab
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