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NCompass Live: Under the Microscope: Science at the Library


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Valley Public Library was awarded one of the Nebraska Library Commission Youth Grants for Excellence for two microscope kits that would be made available for circulation and would be used in programming for youth and families. The presentation will include background information on our science station that led to the idea for the kits. Descriptions of projects and programs that have been successful will be presented along with potential for future programming and outreach.

Presenters: Claire Bushong, Director, and Gary Brown, Volunteer, Valley (NE) Public Library.

Published in: Education
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NCompass Live: Under the Microscope: Science at the Library

  1. 1. Microscopes in the Library How it all got started… Claire Bushong Gary Brown
  2. 2. The More I See The More I See There’s More To See Gary Brown
  3. 3. The goldenrod in my back yard… The more I see….
  4. 4. The soldier beetle on the golden rod… The more I see…
  5. 5. The caterpillar on the goldenrod…The more I see…
  6. 6. Goldenrod pollen… There’s more to see. Electron micrograph,
  7. 7. The roadside ditch… The more I see…
  8. 8. The roadside ditch on its way to the lab… The more I see…
  9. 9. Denizen of the ditch… There’s more to see.
  10. 10. My First Microscope Remembering the wonderful little microscope I found under the Christmas tree when I was ten years old led me to thinking about ways to share my fascination and enthusiasm for the microscopic world with others.
  11. 11. This is what I saw…
  12. 12. What I really saw…
  13. 13. Finding an avenue for such a project seemed to be a logical first step.
  14. 14. The plan was to put microscopes in some type of permanent facility that would offer consistent availability and have some willing professional support. Science centers* and libraries offered the perfect solution. *my first job was in a science center
  15. 15. The Edgerton Explorit Center Aurora, NE
  16. 16. Students from area schools visit the Edgerton Exporit Center to participate in a variety of science activities. What’s wrong with this Picture ?
  17. 17. Students have the opportunity to prepare and observe their slides
  18. 18. Valley Public Library Valley, NE
  19. 19. Library photo The Valley Library
  20. 20. An inexpensive eyepiece camera attached to a small monitor is a great way to stimulate interest In the Science Station.
  21. 21. Deciding upon a workable strategy was a challenging task. Selecting the appropriate microscopes, organizing the permanent display, finding supporting materials, and building the kits for check – out became quite a project. A larger challenge was preparing the potential user.
  22. 22. Selecting the appropriate microscopes… Is any microscope better than no microscope ? Compound or Stereo Simple or Complex
  23. 23. Organizing the permanent display … At the Valley Library the Science Station is evolving.
  24. 24. The sign is on the wall and all is looking good. The Science Station is a real kid magnet. New families never fail to notice the area, and nearly every day children stop by to look at the specimens on display. Through a recent donation we have added more books and worksheets.
  25. 25. finding supporting materials… Magnifying Glasses are fun and inexpensive
  26. 26. finding more supporting materials…* *Thanks to a very supportive library staff
  27. 27. And finding even more supporting materials… The Specimens* * Thanks to the students who came to Science Day
  28. 28. … and building the kits for check – out.
  29. 29. We received one of the Youth Grants for Excellence from the Nebraska Library Commission to assemble 2 kits for checkout, allowing families to get a closer look at their home surroundings. A brief orientation is required for first-time checkout, so they can make the most of their experience.
  30. 30. So, what’s in the kit ? Swift M3200D Microscope Large Nylon Carrying Case Accessories Drawer Plastic Slides and Cover Slips Prepared Slide Sets Telephone Camera Mount Petri Dishes and Pipettes Instruction cards for the Microscope and the phone mount
  31. 31. Instruction cards for the microscope and the phone mount USINGTHECELLPHONECAMERAADAPTER Step 1 Attach the eyepiece positioning guide to the camera adapter as shown in Figure 1a and Figure 1b. Figure 1a Figure 1b Step 2 Attach the phone to the adapter as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2 Step 3 Center the hole in the position i n g guide over the lens of the phone camera as shown in Figure 3, and clamp the phone securely using the thumb screw on the phone clamp. Figure 3 Step 4 Remove the positio n i ng guide from the camera adapter and place the camera adapter on the eyepiece of the mi- croscope as shown in Figure 4, so that the eyepiece is flu s h with the mounting bracket. Use the “zoom” feature on the phone camera to enlarge the view on the screen until the image fil l s the viewing screen. Figure 4
  32. 32. The phone mount allows users to record their favorite specimens. Photos could be used for a school report or a journal of interesting finds. A polarized effect (using cheap sunglasses) turns sand found on the sidewalk into something quite beautiful.
  33. 33. Professionals in the area The microscopes give us another great tool that allows us to take advantage of the skills of local science professionals who volunteer. Kits can augment our Science Station microscopes when needed. Being a part of the Nebraska Science Festival has been a great experience the last 2 years.
  34. 34. A larger challenge was preparing the potential user. Science Day After School Programs Special Classes Summer Reading Programs
  35. 35. After School Programs and the YMCA
  36. 36. Back to school night.
  37. 37. Special Classes Before checking out the microscope each library member must complete a brief orientation. We also have a class on using the telephone camera on the microscope.
  38. 38. For walk-in business, we have found the stereo scopes easier for staff, and younger kids are more interested in looking at the larger specimens they can identify.
  39. 39. Kits are handy for library staff to transport to other locations for special outreach experiences.
  40. 40. A project such as this is an ongoing learning experience where every new activity opens a door for another. The growth of this project has been encouraging as we are finding new ways to make microscopy available to the community through the participation of a growing number of organizations.
  41. 41. Advocacy Day 2016 Volunteer Recognition
  42. 42. You too, can participate. Submit a proposal for a microscope program in your library. * May be for a circulating kit or a permanent microscope station * Should include a program component (minimum of orientation to using a microscope) * Should include a matching component: a dollar amount or in-kind (materials or local professional presentation) Up to 2 microscopes will be made available in 2017. Deadline for application is March 1, 2017. Full application and instructions will be posted on the Valley Public Library website by January 1:
  43. 43. For additional information you may contact us at: Claire Bushong Valley Public Library 402 359 9924 Gary Brown G W Brown Company 402 359 5801