When I first heard that Foldscope was launching a Kickstarter to make these amazing origami paper microscopes available to the public, I put 2 different questions up on several of my social media sites:
I’m thrilled out of my mind to be writing a post about this new good quality, “disposable”, CHEAP compound (uses microscope slides) microscope. Oh yeah – it’s 140X magnification – you can see bacteria
What would you look at if you had such a thing? It’s practically indestructible (can step on it, throw it off a building, run it through the washing machine), it’s about the size of a 3X5 card and fits in your pocket. Runs on watch battery or just held up to a light.
- If you are a “career-biologist” – How would you use this to teach people about the wonders of science and our everyday (microscopic) world?
- If you are not a career-biologist – Just wondering what would be interesting to YOU. Is there anything you’d use it for?
The feedback was AMAZING! Check out the suggestions and excitement:
From the biologists look at:
- Take my kids on a TARDIGRADE hunt
- Pond water, leaf litter, whatever is around me
- Blood and fecal smears with parasites and their eggs
- Bird parasites like mites and lice
- “pocket web MD” myself, my dog, and the family
- Could be an important tool for vet offices and field doctors
- Termite guts
- Water trapped in a bromeliad
- Look at different foods – onion and lettuce are a fun start
- Fish and sea urchin development could be followed in real time by my students
- Look at velcro, money, photos, paper, and prints
- Take them to Uganda for students to look at their own well water
- Take into prisons for teaching science since there are no glass slides.
- Forensics class: look at slides with human hair from different ethnic groups, different animal hairs, etc…
- Look at osteons to estimate human age by their size.
- Test the 5-minute rule
- Do a mouth swipe to see your bacteria and cheek cells.
- Look at the hooklets on a bird feather and tell students about how birds fly by trapping air beneath their wings.
- Show the farmers I work with pests on their plants
- Girl scouts! Show the girls aquatic critters
- Look at hang nails, dryer lint, and BUGS!
- “Carry it in my purse for quick science lessons, along with slides of protists, thread, pollen, bacteria…. where can I get this?”
- Use it in outreach to schools to show them the chromosomes in salivary glands of flies
- Use for my field project on vaginal infections in Guatemala.
- Do saliva ferning to help women avoid or achieve pregnancy.
- Give to global health partners to aid in diagnoses
Non-biologist “everyday” people thought
- Give it to my 8-year-old grandson for his adventures and Cub Scout troop
- Home school!
- Look at things on my farm
- Use it in our school garden
- Start with my skin and then look at plants and insects
- Middle school classes could use for citizen science type projects and then skype with a class in another country to compare results!
- Take it on walks, the garden, and hikes for my 4-year-old
- Flowers, plants, insects, spiders, soil, tree bark, seeds, leaves,hair, textiles, water samples, food, manufactured goods, skin, wood, and lots of other stuff.
- Look at boogers and other bodily secretions with my 3-year-old
- After following the instgram account @pondlife_pondlife, I’d look at random bodies of water in the urban environment
- Look at yogurt and probiotics, swab germy places, look at water samples
I’ve had a lot of fun looking at everything from the algae in my terrarium (I found diatoms AND a tardigrade!) and aquarium water, to onion skin, salt, flour, insect legs, hair, a sprinkle of soil (lots of quartz and mica was beautiful). I was shocked at what you could see, even from a slide made of cardstock and TAPE! I ordered the teacher’s kit and can’t wait until August 2017.
I’ve heard about people buying kits for:
- scout troups
- school’s out day camps
- science camps
- science outreach
- keep the kids entertained (ooh – hand a kid a foldscope, not a cell phone when they are bored!)
- classrooms (all ages!)
- STEM nights at school
- Donate several kits to many schools in honor of their child!
Let me know what you would examine with Foldscope and/or why you bought your kit!
I’ve also heard about people adopting some of the schools and classrooms that are up on the Foldscope donation site. What a great gift for a teacher, scientist, or other hard to shop for person for the holidays! Give the gift of education and exploration to a classroom in that person’s honor. Team Foldscope has excellent video tutorials for training yourself. I’ve been thrilled to work through them. Here’s the project I’m working on this weekend – using the Foldscope in “camera lucida” mode so Jac, and maybe mama? can draw some microscopic critters!
The inventors of Foldscope will do a LiveStream tomorrow.
Finally – take a look at Microcosmos – the community where Foldscope users share their journeys. Here are some of my favorites.
Share the Microbial Love
Thank you for reading my blog.
Please share this post if you enjoyed it.
If you received something of value from this post or the blog, please consider supporting the blog either directly, through a “tip” at the PayPal link below or indirectly through my affiliate links.