Foldscopes Saved the Outreach Event!

 

I’m eagerly awaiting August when I’ll get my teacher’s kit of Foldscopes, but am so thrilled to have a few personal Foldscopes to use. This time they really saved my outreach event. My daughter’s elementary school was having a STEM night “Sponsored by the Letter U”. You know how Sesame Street has shows focused on one letter – yeah, same idea. My booth was “You under the microscope”. Teaching people about their microbial/microscopic selves.

You Under the Microscope
You Under the Microscope
Who needs electricity when you have a Foldscope?
Who needs electricity when you have a Foldscope?

Had a display up with some fabulous microbiome information from the American Society of Microbiology, LB nutrient agar plates with yeast and bacterial growth from the family dog and from both our 3 and 8 yr daughter’s fingers. For people to actually play with scopes, I had requested and received 5 microscopes from the school, but only 1 extension cord. Thankfully, I’d brought my 2 Foldscopes!

I was lucky to have members from the local high school science club helping with the booth. They were to help run the scopes, help kids make slides of their cheek swabs, tooth scrapings, skin, hair, whatever, and do the “dilution series” art and calculations. The school had promised 5 microscopes for the booth, but provided only 1 extension cord. I turned to the students and said – “Eh, who needs electricity for microscopy – let me show you this fabulous invention.” and pulled out my 2 foldscopes.  The high school student’s eyes lit up and they quickly passed the scopes around oohing and ahhing. Later, I heard a 2nd grader complaining about waiting for the traditional scope. The president of the science club jumped right in telling the student “Don’t worry – here’s this cool paper microscope that doesn’t need electricity and is even better”.

Getting the slide ready for the kids!
Getting the slide ready for the kids!

Manu and Jim – Thanks again for building this very exciting and amazing tool for medicine, research, and outreach!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    One thing you could have is foldscope projection artwork in such settings, always a hit. A setup similar to this will be fine.
    https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=19080

    For example, here’s artwork done by a kid on her own louse.
    https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=22038

    You need a really powerful flashlight (~200-300 lumens) and a cardboard for darkness. However, you can set it up in many different ways..e.g. Manu’s setup.
    https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=16684

  2. Thanks for that idea! Will do that for the next outreach event.

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