Microscope Community Outreach

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Timemaster1212
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am

Microscope Community Outreach

#1 Post by Timemaster1212 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:27 am

Hello all!

It has been forever since I have last posted, however I have stayed up to date on the forum. Because of school i was forced to take a break from microscopy, but now that I have more free time, I jumped back in and even purchased a new leitz stand (pictures coming soon, I am hoping to be more active). Anyways back to the topic at hand: bringing microscopes to kids! In my high school, I was one of the founding members of an outreach club, and our Science Olympiad Team (think competitive science competitions) wants to partner up and go to elementary and middle schools around our area, Memphis, and run mini science fairs a few days a week. My first thought hearing this was to have a stand where younger kids can look at rocks and flowers (stereo microscope) and older kids can maybe make their own slides (compound microscope). What do you guys think? Too ambitious for a high schooler :D ? If you guys have any tips or suggestions, or any ideas of your own please do not be afraid to let me know!

Adnan Shihaibar

PeteM
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#2 Post by PeteM » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:11 am

I think it's a great idea and salute you for it.

Two thoughts:

- It's useful if you can get, say, five friends with microscopes to join you -- so you have five things to look at. Each one set up, along a long table. Have some various chairs and step stools so younger kids can get their eyes to table height.

- One approach is to have "single image science lessons." That is a sentence or two of science to go with everything you set up to look at. For example, looking at a silicon wafer you can see "Moore's Law." The smaller the circuit, the faster it is and the less power it requires and the less each transistor costs to make.

- If you can get some small specimen bottles, younger kids like to collect things and then look at them under a stereo microscope. It's cooler for them when they find something themselves (perhaps after viewing something else under a stereo microscope).

I do similar outreach and another member here, Tom Jones, does as well. I'd be curious to learn what things are "hits" with the kids you end up working with and would be happy to share what bits I've learned about outreach to younger kids as well.

MicroBob
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#3 Post by MicroBob » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:36 am

Hi Adnan,
this is for sure a good idea! It is very valuable to introduce people into scientifical work. We might treat the environment better when we know more about it.
Some thoughts:

- With a bigger display (PC monitor) you can attract people that stand further away
- To keep everything under control you need a suitable ratio between trainers and trainees
- Today it is necessary to have a look at the safety of procedures :cry:
- Topics of present general interest attract people
- Introduce into ways for further occupation with microscopy (Show starter books, link to this forum, what microscope to buy)
- You might be able to get some microscopes donated if you ask around
- Pond life is a great topic (show plancton net, drop on slide, cover slip, wow-what is this???)

Bob

Timemaster1212
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#4 Post by Timemaster1212 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:18 am

You guys are so helpful! Before i dive too much into the logistics of what I can view, and how I am gonna present it (btw, has anyone hooked up a microscope camera to a projector?) i have to see if my school will let me borrow some 'scopes. Bob, I will be sure to keep this up to date as I pursue this, and thank you everyone for your great ideas. I might have to train some volunteers to help haha. I should say this before I get too far, the way the "science nights" will be held is almost like a science fair, tables set up with interactive projects. Do you think this a bad way to run this?

MicroBob
Posts: 1416
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#5 Post by MicroBob » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:38 pm

We use a microscope with a camcorder and 1 meter flat screen tv for our group meetings. This gives a much quicker video transmission compared to a USB camera. For plancton this is important, for many other subjects not. Some better smartphones offer "MHD" technology to bring the smartphone image onto a tv. A very easy choice is a USB eyepiece camera as it is just installed instead on an eyepiece so you can use any microscope, even a very simple one or an old horseshoe microscope. Here you would have to look for a version that shows a big enough portion of the eyepiece view.
For todays kids much is arranged around their smartphone - so why not pick them up where they are? You could install a smartphone holder to the microscope and let them use their own phone to take pictures and videos.

Your tables with interactive projects - can you explain this a bit more in detail? Generally there are lots of good but differnt ways to do this and the most important quality of the trainer is his flexibility to react on changeing situations.

Bob

Timemaster1212
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#6 Post by Timemaster1212 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:31 pm

I was thinking i could do a cheek cell lab. Simply scrape cells off their cheek using a cotton swab, stain with methylene blue, then as they observe give a short presentation on cell structure. Or, depending on the age of the kids maybe even show plasmolysis as shown in :http://www.microbehunter.com/observing-plasmolysis/. Im gonna brainstorm once i figure out more information. First thing i have to do is ensure i can even gather all the required resources, and then figure out how to attach a camera to my microscope.

Timemaster1212
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#7 Post by Timemaster1212 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:10 pm

After talking to a teacher it may even be possible for me to 3D print phone mounts so kids can take pictures of what they see. I think this may work better than me displaying just off of my stand? I have until December, so i have plenty of time to fiddle around.

PeteM
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#8 Post by PeteM » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:58 pm

As Bob indicated, it's pretty easy to hook a monitor or a projector to a USB or HDMI camera. Cheap cameras are fine, since they are at some risk from the kids toppling them.

Teaching heads are great to let a mentor and a kid or two kids view. It's somehow more immersive than viewing on a screen.

Cell phone camera adapters are often so cheap it may not be worth printing them yourself. I'd guess there would be some local donor willing to give your team a couple hundred or so to get better equipped?

In addition to pond critters - which are very cool (especially with phase contrast) - polarized mineral sections or polarized lint from a dryer are pretty cool.

You might want to coordinate with teachers and see what science lessons they will be covering at the time of your outreach. Could be you can reinforce that.

Timemaster1212
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am

Re: Microscope Community Outreach

#9 Post by Timemaster1212 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:01 pm

I'll have to look around and see what I can come up with. For now i have to get a basic plan, but i thank all of you for your help and ideas!

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