Workshop implementation in Yucatan, Mexico

Title: Implementation of a theoretical-practical workshop of basic microbiology, using the microscope based-paper microscopes (FOLDSCOPES) in two communities of Yucatan, Mexico.

Saturday May 23 and June 6, 2015
Project Itzaes, Ixil, Yucatan and Restaurante “El Pescador ” Dzilam Bravo, Yucatan.
Authors: MSc. Isaias Beimar Peraza Baeza, M.F.A. Haley Jo Honeman

We implemented a basic theoretical and practical microscopy workshop for children using the paper Microscopes “FOLDSCOPES” developed by the Laboratory of Bioengineering of Dr. Manu Prakash at Stanford University. Common materials were used in a workshop of Basic Microbiology applied such as slides, cover slips and small vials in two communities of the state of Yucatan, Mexico: Ixil and Dzilam Bravo. Participants used biological and inorganic samples of their environment. Other activities part of the workshop were: reflection, drawing and painting. The main objective of the workshop was to raise awareness of the FOLDSCOPE to the children, it´s origin, also the instructions to assemble and use it as a scientific research tool for their environment. We sought to motivate participants to use the FOLDSCOPE to observe the microcosm of their environment.

Brief description of the workshop activities
The workshop began with the presentation of the project, instructors and participants
○ Welcome to participants, description and references to the importance of the project in public health and science education and the necessity of sophisticated scientific equipment for the observation of the microcosm.
○ Presentation of the instructors and questions from participants, names and interests of the participants.
A list of the possible samples was written and with a brief explanation that could be seen with a microscope with the question: What would you like to see?
We advanced assembling the FOLDSCOPES and samples preparation.
Finally, we continued to the session of observation and description of the observed samples, together with own drawings, description of participants and digital photos taken by the phone.
In summary, the participants met the following objectives:
1. Description of the observations of samples of your choice.
2. Sample collection
3. Assembling of the Foldscopes
4. Sample Preparation and observation
5. Description and exchange of samples for observation among the participants.

Following are brief histories of some of the workshop participants Dzilam Bravo along with images of the observations made with their respective foldscopes are described:

Shaina Madisu Flores Alcocer


Shaina is 10 years old and she likes to dance a lot and also swimming, when she grow up, she would like to be a dentist and the FOLDSCOPE changed her idea about the science and about how easy is to discover things.

Kimberly Betancourt


Kimberly has 6 years and she like top lay, when she grow up she want to be a children´s doctor and she enjoy the FOLDSCOPE a lot, specially watching through it on the nights.

Alison Torres Alcocer



Ali has 8 years old, she likes to drive her bike and play soccer, when she grows up she would like to be a lawyer and about the FOLDSCOPE, she like it a lot because of the fun that science can be and the easy way to use it.

Natalia Marrufo



Natalia was one of the favorites in this workshop, she is 6 years old and she likes to dance a lot and do research about insects and their environment, when she grow up would love to become a a scientist in particular the ones that investigate parasites that live inside the insects. About the foldscope she thinks that it was a great experience that will be useful on the future.

Thaili Villanueva Aceves.


Thaili is 10 years old and she likes to dance jazz, when she grow up, she will be a lawyer to defend the children. She liked the FOLDSCOPE because she was able to observe several things that are very small.



Ixchel is a wonderful little girl, with only 5 years she was able to assemble their own FOLDSCOPE with Little help, she is also very curious about her surroundings and asking questions all the time. What she likes most on her free time is dance, sing and play, when she grow up she want to be a biologist, and about the FOLDSCOPE she liked it a lot because she was able to see very small thing on a very big size.

Ana Valeria Massa Cortés
Vale is 15 years old and she enjoy driving bike, and spend time at the shore of the beach. She would love to study chemistry or physical education teacher, and her opinion about the FOLDSCOPE was the next: “I learned that to be big, you first need to be small”

Ana Fernanda Massa Cortés
Fer is 15 years old and is twin sister of Fernanda, on her free time she like a lot to go to the breakwater of the port to see the ocean, she would love to become a marine biologist as a professional career and about the FOLDSCOPE she mentioned: “I liked a lot and is very cool because you can watch things in your own house”.

Elián Nadal
Elián is 15 years old and what she enjoy most is record videos, write scripts, drawing, reading and listening music. He wants to study visual arts (film) with a focus on film direction. He thinks that the FOLDSCOPE was a great idea, more at the school that does not have with enough microscopes and the FOLDSCOPES help me with my homework. Investigate microscopic objects during the day and other assignments.

Duncan Estrada

Duncan is a very curious and kind boy, on his free time he likes to play soccer and watch documentaries about things that he don’t know. He would love to study medicine and the FOLDSCOPE make a positive and incredible impact on his life because allow him to do his science homework.


Some of the local samples and specimens of the mangrove area of Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatan, Mexico, used for observation with the FOLDSCOPE® during the workshop.


Snapper fish scale, prepared and photographed by Kimberly Betancourt



Materials that were used during the FOLDSCOPE workshop in the community of Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatan, Mexico. Continuation of the materials employed during the FOLDSCOPE workshop in the community of Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatan, Mexico.



Images of a local common ant of 1 mm length take it with the FOLDSCOPE by Fernanda and Valeria Massa.


Microscopic image of pollen of the Flamboyan Flower, Delonix Regia, photographed by Elian NadaL.



Microscopic image of a blue Australian macaw feather took it by Fernanda Massa and Elian Nadal.


Image of a home spider net took it by Fernanda Massa

Image of a very small fruit fly wing, Dhosophila Melanogaster took it by Elian Nadal.



Seeing a whole new world through the foldscopes.

Looking for some sunlight for the foldscopes.



Supervising the proper operation of the FOLDSCOPE to their workshop peers.


Getting really small samples for scientific purposes.

Adapting the smartphone camera for capturing pictures.

It was time to learn some basic vegetal biology of leafs.

It was very fun, see you next time Ixil!


A brighter future on his hands!

Document elaborated by: Isaías Peraza Baeza
Pictures from Dzilam: Isaías Peraza Baeza
Pictures from Ixil: Haley Honeman

Transcribed by Manu.

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