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