Origami Microscopy Using Foldscopes

BY Betty Hyde-McGuire & Beth Simmons

Sandwich STEM Academy

Project Description
Creating opportunities to study the microscopic world and make it accessible to everyone requires simple resources. In many cases microscopes in conventional laboratories cost thousands of dollars. Our solution is building a foldscope, a microscope designed from paper. The inventor of the foldscope creatively merged the ingenuity of Bioengineering with the study of Biology. The origami-like paper microscope packs a promise that is quite simple; to reveal nature’s secrets in the field! Amazingly, when folded correctly this microscope gives rise to precision and discovery! We have field tested this with the inventor Dr. Manu Prakash, and we were challenged but also thrilled by its usability and acuity. Our goal is to share the experience by training several high school students in our Biology classes to mentor the activity with 7th, and 8th grade students in our STEM Academy. We want to change the way students view the space around them and bring microscopy to life.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Goals and Objectives:
Create opportunities to study the microscopic world making it accessible to everyone using simple resources. Promote teamwork, mentoring and collaboration between high school students and middle school students. Demonstrate how engineering design marries with biological discovery. Showcase that curiosity coupled with discovery is an integral part of scientific exploration. Analyze a variety of living and nonliving things with a new perspective. Providing opportunities to model skills such as problem solving, perseverance, and critical thinking.

Benefit to the students and the school
The benefit of this Foldscope project is to model scientific discovery both from a design standpoint through demonstrating innovation in engineering as well as from a discovery standpoint to witness what younger students uncover. We want to increase academic learning experiences that encourage our High School students to serve as science ambassadors to our STEM Academy students.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
Our Foldscope activities are slated for Spring 2020 this year and students in our High School Biology classes are currently being trained to implement the program with our 7th grade students.


Leave a Reply