Montessori Activity Review: Magnifying Lens

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Montessori Activity Review: Magnifying Lens

Being a Montessori mom, I have always wanted to encourage my son’s curiosity and inquisitiveness. Anyone with a five-year old child would agree that at this age everything starts with a question. So, when I started getting lots of questions about what everything around us was made up of, I wanted to create activities at home that would help him explore the fine structure and texture of articles around him.

Many of the new activities I’ve recently come up with involve a magnifying lens. It is a simple, inexpensive tool that is appropriate for a five year old that provides an almost endless stream of opportunities to learn about the world we inhabit.

When I evaluated magnifying lenses to buy, I realized that there were many different models that were priced reasonably. Some of them were handheld, while the others were attached to a stand that is placed on a table for observation.

I chose the Carson Magnifying Lens because a table-top model would allow my son, Vikram, to sit and observe articles carefully. It can, however, be used as a hand-held device as well because it is light-weight – an important feature that allows us to take the magnifying lens almost anywhere we can think of.

The day our magnifying lens arrived, Vikram began asking questions about it immediately: he wanted to know how it works and what it does. So, I explained how scientists use tools such as magnifying lenses and microscopes to learn about the internal structure of the objects and organisms around us. He easily grasped the idea that everything is made of smaller particles and even compared it to Legos and building blocks.

Collecting the Samples

I asked him to grab something to observe under the magnifying lens. He ran into the backyard and got some leaves and grass. I helped him place the samples on a glass slide and look at them through the lens.

We talked about the edges of the leaves as well as their veins. We also discussed about various parts of a plant, their structure and function. I gave him other examples and told him how everything in nature has specific shape and size, based on its role and function.

I left the magnifying lens on the table so that my son could explore it in his own way, whenever he wanted to. Throughout the day, he kept bringing everything from toys, pebbles and wood chips to spoons and forks for observing them under the magnifying lens. He also tried to look at his hands and feet through the lens.

I asked him to explain the main features of every sample in his own words. The initial descriptions consisted of only few words. I helped with some lead questions. As the day progressed, he started talking about the shape, texture, edges, size and colors of each article. He loved the fact that he could adjust the lens by himself. An enlarged image of his favorite toys was very exciting to him.

When my husband got back from work, Vikram was very excited to share his new “experiment” with him. He tried to imitate me and explained everything to his dad just the way I had done to him.

On the Trail

The portability of the lens makes it great for learning on-the-go. Over the weekend, we took the magnifying lens and went for a short hike.

Vikram was holding it all the time and trying to observe small bugs, leaves, flowers and other samples through it. Instead of running on the trail, he was trying to observe everything around him. It was more educative when compared to a regular hike.

Hands-on Experience

A magnifying lens is an easy and interesting way to introduce the basic scientific principles of experimentation and observation to a young child. It gives children hand-on experience that is more comprehensive than just reading about them from a book. This activity encourages them follow their natural curiosity about the world by exploring and asking questions. It also encourages them to find answers to their questions by themselves, an essential skill as they grow up and begin to face challenges on their own. (Read more about the Montessori method.)

Magnifying Lens

Magnifying lenses are available at several stores. Mine, the Carson Magnifying Lens, is finely crafted in light-weight metal with a big, glass lens. Its stand can be adjusted according to the height of your child, and a built-in light improves visibility of certain samples, especially when the outside light is dim.


About Shamala

Shamala is a big believer of the Montessori system and has a five year old son in kindergarten at a Montessori school in California. She is also a freelance writer with more than five years of experience in web content writing.

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