By Sandy Fleming
Magnifying glasses can
be fascinating. They afford your children a unique
opportunity to peer at details that would otherwise escape notice
about the intricacies of our world. If possible, you'll want
each child to
have access to his or her own magnifying glass or perhaps have
work in pairs.
There are some wonderful
vocabulary words that you can introduce as you work
with magnifying glasses. It's an opportunity to teach words like
magnification, detail, minute, miniature, grains, and tiny. Remember
introduce the new words by explaining what they mean and then
several times. Be sure to encourage the kids to use the new words,
give positive feedback when they do.
Magnifying in the Kitchen
Give the children small
amounts of white ingredients in different containers. You can
inspect salt, sugar, flour, baking powder,
soda. What similarities and differences can you see? Try mixing
ingredients with water and with cooking oil. Which ones disappear
dissolve) in water? Do any of them dissolve in the oil? Take
a close look
with the magnifying glass and describe what you see.
Collect a variety of fabrics.
You might include various types of clothing,
towels and linens, upholstery, and different types of carpet.
blankets and sweaters! Use the magnifying glass to inspect the
weaves, and stitches in these textiles. What similarities can
you see? What
differences? Why do you think this is so?
A Dirty Job
What is dirt made of?
You can learn a lot by looking at different kinds of
dirt under your magnifying glass. Check out soil from various
different kinds of sand, potting soil, and even common house
colors can be seen in the particles? What shapes?
Photographs and pictures
from books and magazines make great objects to
inspect with magnifying glasses. Take a close look, and you will
be able to
see the individual pixels of many pictures. On some grainy illustrations,
the children may even be able to pick out the color of each one.
what? Many times, these colors do not match the colors that your
eyes see in
picture! Colored newspaper pictures are particularly good to
use for this
project. Most printers use only three to five colors to get the
many others. They mix the main colors in certain ways to fool
our eyes. Can
you pick out the inks they are using to create the colors that
Be a Paper Detective
Take a close look at lots
of kinds of paper, and you'll be amazed at what
you find. Paper, it turns out, is often not one solid sheet!
If you look
closely, you can see how the tiny particles are sticking together
it. Newspaper, construction paper, and other coarse papers will
quite nicely. Now, take a look at some paper money under the
glasses. There's quite a difference, isn't there? Paper money
is almost like
cloth! It has threads and a woven appearance. What other details
different kinds of paper can you discover with close inspection?
There are a host of other
possibilities as well. You can examine common,
everyday items, compare two similar items to find if there are
differences, and discover similarities between different objects.
magnifying glasses as a focal point, you can build science skills
observation, comparison, categorization, and forming hypotheses.
all, you can nurture your children's inborn curiosity about their
is an educator, author and workshop facilitator. She resides
in southern Michigan with her husband and three daughters.
Sandy leads workshops for daycare providers and parents
in the region, tutors students, volunteers for Girl Scouts
and her church, and teaches online classes for adults and
children. She loves to make new friends, so please drop
her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org