Our family attended a great marine biology class and learned a LOT about oceanography. Plus we learned a really neat trick to be able to see the shadow of microbes. The FREE Online Science Class was Marine Biology, Oceanography and Underwater Robots, offered by Super Charged Science.
Here’s what you need to create your own Laser Pointer Microscope.
Large paper clip
Pond water (or terrarium/aquarium water or make your own pond water)
1. Open the large paperclip (see picture above).
2. Straighten out one end of the paperclip. Next use the pliers to curl the end of the paperclip around so that it touches the other side of the paperclip. You are creating a full circle (if circle is not complete, it will not hold a drop of water).
3. Bend the loop up so it is standing up straight from the body of the paperclip (see above).
4. Line the paperclip up next to the body of the laser pointer, so that the loop is at the top of the pointer (the laser will shine through the loop). Note: you don’t want the loop too far from the top of the laser pointer. Attach the paperclip to the laser pointer with a rubber band. Be sure to not cover up the ON button🙂.
5. Turn the laser on and make sure it is shining through the middle of the paperclip loop (do NOT look into the light!). If it is not shining through the center, adjust the paper clip by bending it into place.
6. Dip the loop only into pond water. A drop of water should be suspended in the loop of the paperclip. In a darkened room, shine the laser onto a piece of white paper. Now you should see the shadow of microbes projected onto the paper. Watch closely as some fast moving microbes will scoot across the projection!
You can make the image bigger or smaller by moving the laser closer or farther away from the paper. **If your projection is too tiny then you probably need to adjust the paperclip on the side of the laser pointer. Move the paperclip so that it is closer to the top of the laser. You can tinker with finding the best location for the loop (closer or farther away from the laser top).
Just make sure the laser is beaming through the center of the paperclip loop. And of course do NOT ever shine the laser directly into your eyes or someone else’s.
There is no way to fine tune the projected microbe image, no magnification. However, it is neat to see that the microbes are present. And personally, I think it is super cool to see the fast moving microbes move around.🙂
***Pond water. If you don’t have pond water, no worries. You can make pond water. Put grass and weed clippings in a cup or jar covered with water. Let this mixture sit on the windowsill for about a week. Then you will be set to look for microbes. We found it interesting to also examine our fish aquarium water and our aquatic turtle’s water.
Watched Super Charged Science Laser Microscope Video at https://www.superchargedscience.com/opt/laser-microscope-al1-vid1/