Wonderful moment in Foldscope teachers workshop at IITB

Jim and I, along with DBT staff scientists, IITB, Ruia college and Dharavi Diary volunteers have been running workshops for teachers and IITB students. In continuation, today we a ran workshop at IITB campus with the focus of sharing experience of teachers.

We started with a wonderful series of introductions and journeys that many teachers faced – challenges they face in bringing science to kids in communities they live in. It was an incredible experience listening to the teachers – and I will post the videos of the introductions in an upcoming post.

Here, I wanted to document a wonderful moment that unfolded – which is classic example of “aha” moment with a foldscope. A teacher from Agastya Foundation got some water from outside the building (it’s been pouring rain for last 3 days) and mounted an aquatic plant in the slide. She exclaimed and said she could see beautifully visible chloroplast.

Quickly all the teachers started gathering – and looking at this sample. Here is Pandirajan enjoying looking at this fantastic slide.

And Deepali from Dharavi Diary enjoying looking at this beautiful slide. Usually I joke, that with foldscope we also made a sensor that can tell if the instrument is working or not – and that is a genuine smile of the user 🙂

Now we all wanted to know what the tiny little green dots, chloroplasts were doing. I decided to use this example to teach “Time lapse imaging”.

Biological objects grow and move and change over time. But sometimes that happens slowly and you need to image for longer to be able to visualize and share that. I usually use “time lapse” feature on my camera of a phone or download another app – such as “lapseit” which allows me to take a picture every minute or every 10minutes etc. this time I set it up to take a picture every minute – and left the phone on the table.

The results of this simple experiments were marvelous. See the little video below.

Moss collected by Agastya teachers – time lapse; 1 picture per minute, played back 10frames per second.


It clearly shows that the section of this plant is alive. Chloroplasts are actually moving inside the cells.

That’s a beautiful example of starting with a curiosity to just see something, we have now arrived at a wonderful question – why do chloroplasts move in some plant cells? What could this rhythmic movement provide to the cell? What kind of machinery ( molecular motors) would be involved in this moment?

This is a fantastic example of Foldscoping. We had a great laugh about this example, because we went from a beautiful observation to a beautiful question. Please try that in your own experiments.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Eden Educational Resource Centre says:

    அற்புதமான நிகழ்வு இது. இதற்கு முன் இவ்வளவு தெளிவாக நான் பார்த்தது கிடையாது. அற்புதமான பதிவு.
    மொ. பாண்டியராஜன்

  2. laksiyer says:

    Fantastic cytoplasmic streaming and great clarity. The human sensors were all lighting up. I’ve always been looking for good examples that show this.

  3. anuoommen10 says:

    Hey I’m Anu! I was one of the students who attended this workshop. It was such an amazing experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I know that i would be able to use a microscope made out of paper! With foldscope i can observe anything and everything whenever i want. Thank you so much Manu sir.

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