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VIRTUAL MICROSCOPY CAMP

Funded by ASCB

This was an outreach project utilizing our love and expertise in microscopy and ingenious Foldscope, developed by Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski. We felt that this would be a fantastic tool for students, encouraging them to learn how to make observations and hypotheses. The main objective was to provide students a framework for understanding the fundamentals of scientific method by observing the world around them.

 
 

Our instrument

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Foldscope is a low cost, easy to assemble paper microscope that was developed to provide research and educational tool to communities across the globe. 

What we did

We developed a four part lesson plan, largely based on the samples we thought most students will have access to. We distributed foldscopes among 30 students. After they received their foldscopes at home,  for the next four weeks we met for an hour, to cover topics like ecology, cells and tissues and chemistry and instructed them on how to assemble and use the foldscope for their observations. In addition, students also enjoyed a virtual tour of our lab at NIH where they could compare the differences between foldscopes and spinning disc confocal microscope.

The response

We were amazed by the dedication and enthusiasm kids from the ages of ~ 9 to 13 years demonstrated to us! They were extremely inquisitive and exceptional in their observations, many keeping very detailed notes and drawings. ​This whole journey was something magical for us! It began with having some fun and teaching some science to the next generation, but it has brought us all so much closer to science and to each other. 

To fly this project efficiently we utilized multiple online resources. For virtual classes we used Cisco webex, for designing pamphlets and other course materials we used Canva. We used Quizizz for designing quizzes for the students and weebly for constructing our image gallery and webpage. 

Microscopy images taken by our participants