Problems to Solve
This is a student activity that can be done in small groups or individually. Students are starting to develop some skills using microscopes and measurement at a small scale. At a macro and micro scale, objects have properties that are not obvious at a visible scale. In this activity students are asked to apply and extend their skills to solve problems about objects at a small scale.
A list of suggestions has been provided to challenge students. Students should be encouraged to create their own challenges.
As part of their challenge students should be encouraged to manipulate objects that are very small. It takes practice to manipulate items under a stereo microscope.
- Stereo microscopes with an appropriate light source.
- A variety of measuring devices that may be useful.
- Probes to manipulate small items (while they need to be pointy they should be safe for the environment they are used in).
- A set of possibilities and boundaries about how students can obtain or make measuring devices or other devices to explore the macro and micro properties of materials.
Provide time for groups or individual students to plan one or more investigations. Give students the list of ideas as a starting point. Allow students to brainstorm in their small groups. Bring them back for a class discussion before they decide what they want to investigate.
Inform students that they will be assessed on their plans, how they went about solving their problems, and on a short report about what they found out. If the methods they used didn’t work they need to explain why in their report to get a high assessment.
Students need to provide a written plan that includes the equipment and/or material they will need and where it can be sourced. They must consider any safety issues and how these will be addressed. The plans need to be scrutinised by their teacher and all safety issues addressed. Students must respond to their teacher’s feedback.
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