Exploring microorganisms with a microscope gives immense pleasure to kids. Their enthusiasm and laughter fill the classroom when they are able to view the movements of microorganisms like amoeba and paramecium. However, it is a challenge to provide a microscope to each student. Some of the difficulties are:
- A microscope is heavy and difficult for students to handle.
- It has breakable parts - if it falls, the lens and the glass parts are likely to get damaged.
- Cleaning the lens is also difficult for students.
- It is expensive and difficult to transport from one place to another.
The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, has made ‘Microscopy for all’ possible by providing it in the form of a ‘Foldscope’. It is cost effective and weighs less than 20g. A Foldscope can be taken in a purse to the field while travelling from one place to another.
Foldscope has many advantages:
- The phone camera can be fixed on the eyepiece to capture the image on the phone screen.
- The photographed images can be recorded and viewed later.
- The slide image can be projected on the screen through a torch.
- A Foldscope is unbreakable even when it falls on the ground.
- It is easy to transport from one place to another.
- The image can be enlarged up to 100x.
Hands on action:
Foldscope made learning interesting and easy. Students were paired and each pair was given a Foldscope on Friday evening. A topic for observation was discussed and finalised, for example insects. They spent their Saturday & Sunday in a fruitful manner, observing insects.
Students were given hands on experience to prepare slides. They prepared their own slide and observed it. They photographed/video graphed their recordings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgv1gJG5nlk) and sent it to their teacher through WhatsApp. They raised queries and sought clarifications during the process. This provided an opportunity for the children to learn at their own pace without interruption. Self-learning was also found to be highly motivating.
Skill attained by them:
- Preparing the slide.
- Observing the slide and identifying the structure.
- Handling a foldscope and other instruments with care.
- Fine tuning the foldscope.
- Synchronising the foldscope with technology.
Term: Term 1