Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Three or more large magnifying glasses
- Three objects that would be interesting to examine closely, such as a rock, a granola bar, a leaf, a marble or a bowl of marbles or an article of clothing
- Paper and pencils for all participants
- Optional: Solid-color cloths on which to display objects
Preparation for Activity
- Choose three different objects that invite close examination. Set up three stations, each with one object and at least one magnifying glass.
Description of Activity
This activity illustrates the importance of observation and serves as a metaphor for how we each observe the world through our own lenses.
Distribute paper and pencils and invite participants to go to each station and take turns looking at each object with a magnifying glass. Ask that they observe and take notes in silence.
Then, re-gather the group, hold up each object in turn, and ask volunteers to share what they observed about it. Point out the variety in the group's observations. For example, some children will notice what ingredients are in a granola bar, while others may note its colors or texture.
Invite the group to discuss:
- Why did we each see different things?
- Were any observations false? Were any true? What, if anything, can we agree is a fact, taking all of our observations into account?
Including All Participants
Be mindful of vision-impaired participants. Make sure objects can be observed in a tactile as well as visual way. If any participant has vision limitations, encourage everyone to observe by touch.
Some participants may have trouble writing or spelling. Note-taking can be presented as optional so no one feels pressured to write. Note-taking in the form of sketching rather than writing can also be encouraged.