Watery Lenses

Posted by: on Feb 18, 2014 | No Comments

How to Make a Water Drop MagnifierSONY DSC

You Will Need

Styrofoam or polystyrene plate

Cling Film



Eye dropper (optional)

Bowl or container

Small objects: blades of grass, flowers, coins, stamps, beetle, ant, fly etc




Cut a hole out of the middle of the plate – about the size of a penny. Tape a piece of plastic food wrap across the hole.

Put some water in a bowl then fill up the eye dropper with water or use your finger to transfer the water and put a few drops on the plastic covering.

Hold up your plate – keep it steady! Put it on top of some small objects.

Look through the water drops and see what the small objects look like.


What‘s Happening?

Water tends to cling to itself – it is ‘cohesive’; this effect is also referred to as ‘surface tension’. Water drops are slightly curved or lens shaped so in effect you have made a “lens.” When you look through this lens, things look bigger than they really are. Of course ‘magnify’ just means to make bigger- so you have also made your own magnifier!

Have you ever looked down into the water of a lake, stream or river? Did you see plants and fish? What did they look like? They probably looked bigger than they really were. As a variation you could experiment with different sized holes in the plate in order to find the most effective.

Water can be a great magnifier!

Have Fun!

Thanks to www.umich.edu (reachout)