Did I tell you how happy I was to see the returning three-year old students use magnifiers appropriately? Because this half-day preschool for 2-5-year-olds had moved to a new space over the summer, the “usual place” for everything had to be determined. It is one thing to design a preschool in a set of rooms and another to put it into action. That’s what the children did and showed us that our design needed adjustment. So I did not get magnifiers into use until late October when I brought a container of Tenebrio beetles and larvae (mealworms although they are not worms, just baby insects like caterpillars). I was all set to have the children practice using the magnifiers before getting out the beetles but these former two-year-olds showed that they remembered how to use magnifiers by immediately holding the instrument close to their fingers to view, saying, “It’s bigger!”. The beetles looked bigger too, and the children counted the tiny legs.
Here is how children often approach magnifiers (and beetles) on first encounter:

Here are experienced beetle wranglers using magnifiers expertly:

The Science Shorts columns in the National Science Teachers Association’s elementary school journal describe classic classroom activities that emphasize science-process skills. Larger Than Life: Introducing Magnifiers by Tracy L. Coskie and Kimberly J. Davis (Science and Children, Summer 2009) is a valuable discussion and activity about magnifier use.
Now the magnifiers are easily available for self-serve in the two-year-old class room, at the light table, and in the centers room. It is so gratifying to see that the lessons of last year are retained and used by the children to learn more about their world.

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1 Response to Magnifiers

  1. Deanna says:

    What an excellent experience to help empower young children in exploring the world around them! Too often science in the early years environments is about the teacher demonstrating an experiment while the children only look on.

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