I See Moving Things

  • Time Length
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    1-2 hours

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Often times, when scientists are observing objects in motion, they need appropriate tools  to see them closely. Some things are so small they need to be made bigger. Other objects or animals are very far away a tool, such as a pair of binoculars,  helps to get a closer view.

Question and Wonder:

  • Where would you be if you were going to watch things far in the distance?
  • Why do we want to watch some things from a distance?
  • What do you want to watch using your binoculars? Animals, cars, planes?
  • Who would you think would need to use binoculars?
  • Have you tried your hands to make binoculars?
  • How do binoculars help you track things that are moving?
  • Are there other things you could use to help you see?

Using the materials listed or whatever type of recyclables you think would work (plastic bottles? Pringles cans?…) and make some binoculars.

Should you need more help making your binoculars here is a youtube video on, How to make binoculars, to give you some ideas.

Imagine and Design:

  • How big do you want your binoculars to be? Will you use toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls?
  • Do they need to blend in with your environment?
  • Do you need them to fit in a pocket or should they hang around your neck?
  • How can we put together the two rolls to make each lens of the binoculars?
  • What do you want to use to put the neck strap on with?
  • How long do you think it should be?

Take the binoculars outside and look around and explore. Try a nearby park or a walk around the block. Animals, insect, people and other objects in motion can be sighted everywhere.

Test and Discuss:

  • Can you see that cloud up there? What shape is it now? What is it changing to?
  • Did you see that bee? Where do you think it is going?
  • How do the binoculars help you focus on what you are looking at?
  • What other ways can you use your binoculars?
  • What are ways you could improve on your original design?

Extension Activities:

Get some real binoculars and a magnifying glass and explore how these items change your perspective. Pick an animal, insect, or other moving thing to track and test which tool is best for the job. Talk about how these things change your perspective. A great book to go along with this discussion is “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai.

And, if you enjoy the binoculars, try this and make a collapsible telescope to see more moving things that are really far away.

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