Microscope Discovery Sheet for Sensory Bins

Use this free STEM printable to let your child play a fun microscope game while they are pretending to be a scientist! Perfect for preschool to elementary science programs, this is a fun, safe, and creative way to introduce the world of microbes to a child. It’s basically using a drinking glass to see through murky water to visualize the “microbes” below. I first saw this activity on the Instagram account of happicrafts.com (@happi_crafts) and knew I had to make a microscope version. The set up is simple and this can be combined with several other activities outlined below to keep them engaged and curious. The printable contains microbe illustrations from Baby Medical School: Bacteria and Antibiotics, an adorable introduction to the microscopic world.

Materials

  • Clear plastic bin (or glass casserole dish if you dare)
  • Drinking glass
  • Water with suds or paint mixed in to make it opaque
  • Baby Medical School: Bacteria printable

Procedure

  1. Print out the bacteria printable
  2. Place it under the clear plastic bin.
  3. Fill the bin about an inch with water then mix a little tempera paint mixed in so the water becomes opaque. White paint plus any other color worked the best to make it cloudy for us.
  4. Add a clear, flat bottomed drinking glass to the bin. You should be able to slide the glass around to find the various bacteria.
  5. Describe what bacteria and microscopes are to your kid (see below), then let them at it!

How to explain bacteria and microscopes to your kids: Bacteria are tiny, itsy bitsy things that we can’t see with our eye but are very important. We have bacteria all over us and inside us. Sometimes we get a bad bacteria that makes us sick, but usually the bacteria that live with us work with our body to keep us healthy. There are also bacteria all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Scientist study bacteria to learn how they work, how some can make us sick, and how some can help us. A microscope is an important tool scientists use to study bacteria. It helps them see the tiny little things to learn more about them.

Ways to Play

  • Start playing after you read Bacteria and Antibiotics (Baby Medical School), available on Amazon!
  • Just have them search around a see what they find!
  • Make a game out of it and take turns closing your eyes and sliding the cup somewhere. If you land on a good bacteria (happy faces), you get a point. If you land on a bad bacteria (angry face), you don’t get a point.
  • Set up some cups in another bin next to this one with watered-down paint that they can color mix, suds, or even vinegar and baking soda to play and experiment with. Then have them dump their concoction into the bacteria discovery bin to pretend to check it with the microscope.
  • Have them describe the features of the bacteria they see (colors, spots, etc)

Free Printable

Copy and save this JPG! Please feel free to use this for personal use but please contact me if you would like to distribute it. Enjoy!

How to Make Bendy Bones

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If you ask most kids what bones are made of, they would quickly answer “calcium!” Though it’s not incorrect, years of us telling them to drink their milk for strong bones has hidden an amazing feature of nature, biomineralization by proteins. Calcium is only half the story of bones. Though the semi-crystalline mineral that contains calcium, oxygen, hydrogen, and phosphorus, called hydroxyapatite, provides strength and rigidity, our bones also need to be elastic to help absorb shock. This is where proteins come in. Your bones are made of living tissue that spew out networks of protein that trap and crystallize the calcium in your body. Together they form the strong, resilient biomaterial we know as bones.

You can feel the flexibility of the protein network for yourself by reacting and dissolving the hydroxyapatite from the bones in vinegar. What’s left are entertaining, wiggly bones the kids will love to play with (except my daughter, who was too grossed out and didn’t want to touch them which is why all these pictures are of my hands ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

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Free Halloween Science Coloring Pages!

Here are some fun science-themed Halloween coloring pages for your little ones…or you!

Halloween Coloring 2017 (Click there to download the PDF, or alternately you can copy the JPG images below). Feel free to share online, but please link back to this page 🙂

This year, we chose to do pumpkins, bones, and spider webs– the quintessentials of Halloween decorating. Below is a little biochemistry about each topic and some activities to do with each page!

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