The World Through a Magnifier

A simple magnifying glass or hand lens can open up a whole new world. 

If you don't have one, you can make your own magnifying glass. Get a small, clear glass bottle. Fill it completely with water and put the cap on. Lay the bottle on its side and look through it. Does it make things look bigger? Lay it on a piece of newspaper. Do the letters look bigger when you look through the jar of water? What if you hold it farther away from the paper? 

Here are a few of the many fun things to look at with your magnifier. Make drawings of what you see.

Hands
Look at your fingertip. Can you see your fingerprint? Color a piece of paper with a pencil to make a dark patch. Roll your fingertip across the patch. Now roll your finger on a piece of white paper. Can you see your fingerprint? Look at it with your magnifier.

Look at you fingernail. Look at the palm of your hand. What do you notice?

Coins and Bills
Look at a penny, a nickel, a dime. Are there any scratches? What do you notice about the pictures on the coins? Who are the people shown? Are there any buildings? Any animals? 

Look at paper money too. Are there any details you never noticed before? Any buildings shown? Any stars? Count anything that is shown as a group. Are there 13 in the group? Why?

Cloth
Look at different pieces of clothing. What do the fibers look like? Are all the threads in a piece of cloth the same color? Look at a rug or carpet. What is it like?

Plants
Look at the center of a flower. Can you see different parts? How many different parts are there? Are they all the same color?

Look at leaves from different plants. Do any have hairs on them? What do the edges of the leaves look like? Do you see any places where insects have been eating? Look at the undersides of leaves. Do they look different? Can you see leaf veins?

Can you find any seeds around? Look at them too. Can you find the rough spot where they were attached inside the fruit?

Can you find a tree where you can see growth rings? A tree stump is good or even where a branch was cut off. Look to see if there are wide rings showing years the tree grew a lot and narrow rings where it did not grow as well.

Bugs
Insects and spiders are really wild looking when magnified. What new details can you notice with a magnifying glass? Any hairs? Can you see the eyes? Be gentle, if it’s alive; don’t hurt it.

At the Beach
Look at sand. What colors are the little pieces of sand? Are they all the same? Do they look different when they are wet?

Look at a seashell. Is the inside as smooth as the outside?

Backyard Nature Net has a page with some information about hand lenses. And use your imagination to explore even more.
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