Send Home Activities: Magnificent Magnification
Watch children get information "up close and personal"
- Grades: PreK–K
- magnifying glasses (one for each student, if possible)
- small, flowering potted plants
- science vocabulary
Display a few magnifying glasses on a table. Begin the discussion by asking children what they know about magnifying glasses. Have they ever seen a magnifying glass before? Why would people use them? Explain that magnifying lenses help us see things that we can't see with our eyes alone. Discuss how scientists use lenses like telescopes to see faraway planets and stars and how lenses allow us to see details that we would otherwise miss.
Pass out magnifying glasses and allow children to explore. Invite them to look at simple objects around your classroom. What do they notice when they look at objects with the lens? Invite them to share what they notice and discover.
Place a small potted plant on a table. Invite three or four children to examine the plant together. They will be able to converse and share what they see.
Suggest that the children look at the plant closely using their eyes. What do they see? Next, invite them to look at the plant with the magnifying glass. What do they see? Are there any differences?
Pass out a piece of paper to each student and model how to fold it in half. On one side, invite children to draw the plant as it appears to them when they look at it with only their eyes. On the other half of the paper, invite them to sketch what they see when they use a magnifying glass. Encourage them to look closely at the plant. Can they see how the petals are attached to a flower? What about the tiny hairs that make a leaf feel fuzzy? Display the observational pictures behind the plant display.
Magnifying Letters With Water. Send home a note asking parents to do this simple experiment with their child. Suggest that they place a piece of plastic wrap over a page of newspaper. Suggest they encourage their child to look at the print and notice the letters. Next, they should drop a drop of water on the plastic wrap. Suggest that parents ask their child how the letters look through the water. Is it different from the areas without water? What do they notice?
Curriculum Connection: ART
Print Study. Put out a stamp pad and the magnifying glasses. Show children how to make a fingerprint on a piece of paper. Invite them to look at their fingerprints using magnifying glasses. Are they bigger? Do they all look the same? Invite children to compare their prints with those of others. Next show children how to make fingerprint pictures by adding details to them.