A Penny for Your Thoughts

Countries all over the world use coins as a form of currency. And, unless one is a numismatist, it is unlikely that coins get much thought. But if we look closely, what can we see on the little round discs that sit in our pockets and get picked up off the ground?

Penny from USA

This penny from the U.S.A had some kind of pink coloring on it. The pink was on Abraham Lincoln’s coat and hair. What would Abe think of that dye job?

Euro One Cent

This Euro one cent coin has a spot of corrosion it seems.

Canadian Penny

This Canadian penny is turning green. That’s not the color we usually think of when we think of Canadian maple leaves!

New Taiwanese $10 CoinThe girls were very excited to see the flowers on the NT$10 coin from Taiwan up close. The flowers were originally quite detailed, but those details are wearing away.

It seems even our shiny coins are worn and dented when viewed up close. And a lot of them have strange stains and substances on them. It’s great that we have such durable money that can last for so many years! But we should wash our hands after handling and never put coins in our mouths.


Bug Hunt

Thrilled and enthused by the previous week’s praying mantis, one of our kindergarden students caught his own insect to observe with the MiScope.

Bug Head

It may be a small cockroach. We’ve been seeing this type of insect around the OIST campus for the past few weeks.

It’s great that an experience with the MiScope inspired a student to strike out on his own to collect interesting samples!

Holy Moly! A Praying Mantis!

The campus of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology is a wonderful place for budding entomologists. There are many interesting spiders, butterflies and beetles where ever  you care to look. Sometimes, a unexpected creature will crawl right into your path.

Mantis Face

In English, this bug is called a mantis. Commonly, this kind of bug is a “praying mantis,” because the long, raised front arms appear to be lifted in prayer. In Japanese, it is called a kamakiri (カマキリ).

Mantis "Raptorial Leg"

Our mantis was already dead when we found him. Here, his “raptorial” legs (i.e. like a raptor) are folded up. If he had been hunting prey, his legs would be extended, and the spikes you can see here would be on full display.

Close up, Back of Mantis Head

One of his antennae is missing! The children wondered if he lost the antenna before he died, and if that had something to do with why he died, or if that happened later, maybe from someone stepping on him.

Mantis Neck and Legs

His forearms are covered with smaller spikes. There are colorful patches on his arms that are quite pretty to look at. We wonder what they are for.

Mantis Tegmina, Outer Wings

Several of kids noticed how much the mantis’s wings look like leaves. They are green like leaves, but they also have a cell-like pattern. Not all mantises have wings, but ours did. Mantises with wings actually have two sets of them. Here you can see the thicker outer wing, and the thinner, papery inter wing.

It’s always fun and educational to look at insects up close. It’s so nice we could appreciate the fascinating form of this unique creature with our magnifying glasses and the MiScope.



Fingerprint Fun!

Everyone has a unique set of fingerprints; because no one’s fingerprints are identical, fingerprinting can be used for identification. The children at the Tedako Child Development Center have all seen shows on TV where the police check crime scenes for fingerprints, and use the prints to catch the bad guys.

There are three main types of fingerprints: loops, whorls and arches. Wouldn’t it be fun to figure out which type of fingerprints you have?

Looking at Fingers

It is a little hard to see fingerprint patterns by just looks at your fingers. That is where ink pads, magnifying glasses and the MiScope come in.

The children used stamp pads to color their fingers, and pressed gently onto a sheet of paper to transfer the image. They then compared their fingerprints with examples of the different types for identification.

Fingerprint Identification

The trick is not too press too hard or the fingerprint comes out as just a smudge. The children quickly figured out the best technique. Some colored inks definitely worked better than others, and some children had more luck with certain fingers than others, but everyone was able to identify their fingerprints in the end.

Red Whorl

It seems like most of the children’s fingerprints contained loops, but there were a few whorls.

Red Fingerprint Abstract

It was a lot of fun making abstract designs with the different colored inks too!



The MiScope was very useful for looking at something as small and detailed as a fingerprint.

Objects to Compare with Hair

The children at the Child Development Center are so very curious about the world around them!

Two magnifying glasses!

One of their favorite things to look at with their magnifying glasses is their own hair (髪の毛). After the students very gently provided some samples, they were able to look at the hair under the MiScope.

Strand of Hair

Individual strands of hair are very thin, even when people have lots of hair on their heads. To better understand how thin human hair is, the students looked at other long thin objects for comparison.

Green Thread

This green thread, as found in a sewing kit, is very thin, but hair is still thinner.

Red Yarn

This red yarn was the thickest material the students looked at. That must be why people use it to knit comfy sweaters!

Up close, the surface of spaghetti is very rough. The rough texture helps it hold onto the sauce.

Up close, the surface of spaghetti is very rough. The rough texture helps it hold onto the sauce.

Spaghetti may seem thin compared to other types of noodles, but not when compared with hair.

Soba Noodle

As most people could guess, the soba noodle is thicker than the spaghetti noodle. The students particularly enjoyed interacting with the soba noodles.

Close looking at a soba noodle with a magnifying glass.

Close looking at a soba noodle with a magnifying glass.

While the spaghetti looks and feels very dry, the soba looks very oily up close and feels oily too.

After much exploring of the objects with the magnifying glass and MiScopes, the students took some time to reflect on their experience in their journals.

A student drawing the different objects he observed with the MiScope.

A student drawing the different objects he observed with the MiScope.

All the different sized objects were fun to draw.


Mi Oh My! First Day with the MiScope


On Thursday, August 8, 2013, the children of the Tedako Child Development Center at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology tried the MiScope for the first time.

It was just after lunch, so food seemed appropriate. They started out looking at salt flakes, panko bread crumbs and iceberg lettuce.

Flake Salt フレーク塩 お母さんの塩 蔵盛さんち塩

Flake Salt フレーク塩 お母さんの塩 蔵盛さんち塩

Up close, the salt reminded everyone of a pyramid!

Panko Breadcrumbs

Panko Breadcrumbs

The panko looks a bit like clouds. You can find animal or plant shapes if you look closely.

Iceberg Lettuce レタス

Iceberg Lettuce レタス

Lettuce is an everyday food, but it looks so interesting up close.

Of course, the exploration did not end with those samples.

Students testing the MiScope

Students testing the MiScope

Using their natural curiosity, the students tested out the MiScope on the laptop used for viewing the images… with pretty interesting results.

13-in Macbook Air, surface detail

13-in Macbook Air, surface detail

Seen normally, the surface of the laptop looks smooth. Up close, it almost looks like static on a television.

It’s amazing what objects look like with a little magnification. The students of the Child Development Center will be exploring much more in the coming weeks.


Dragonfly + Haiku

Observed and Written by students

Grades 3 and 4

New Life Academy

Today is summer

Come in dragonfly, let’s play

We will fly around!

Dragonflies lets go,

North, South, East, West, where to go?

Let’s go everywhere!

Dragonflies are bugs,

Dragonflies are colorful,

Dragonflies are cool!

Dragonflies have eyes.

They have eyes to see nature.

They are very nice.

Dragonflies are cool.

They go everywhere they want.

They have lots of friends.

 Dragonflies fly high.

Look, the beautiful blue sky.

They are playing tag.

Dragonfly don’t lie

If you hold long they might die

Let them free to fly

 Dragonfly is fast!

They live all over the world.

They are colorful.

Dragonfly is free

Act like boys who play outside.

They don’t need airplanes.

Dragonflies have wings.

Dragonflies can fly so high.

Dragonflies are cool

Dragonfly plays tag

Up and down around the world

Went to see the view

They are courageous.

I saw one riding one’s back.

They help each other.




Oh my… it’s the African Mai Mai

Today we started to weed a small area for our class garden and we discovered 2 HUGE land snails

We plucked them out of the ground and placed them onto the cement wall.

Vivian measured them, just barley peeking out of their shell they measured about 7cm.

We estimated that they would be about 14-15 cm stretched out of their shell.

They were leaving shiny slime on the wall and we think that green is their waste.

They are very social creatures, and found each other as soon as we put them on the wall.

These snails are not native to Okinawa, they were brought here as a cheap source of protein following WW2. They can not be eaten because they carry parasites but they have flourished in our climate.

First Experience Observing Microlife

First we examined the bag with just our eyes


Next we examined it with a hand lens



Finally, we used the MiScope (Video Links)  

  • Our reaction to our first experience looking at microlife with the MiScope
  • We captured what we saw on the bag of rice, this bug is on it’s back and this one we chased around a glass bowl.

Students’ still shots

@40x in a petri dish@140x in a petri dish

                                              @40x on a glass dish
Questions our class came up with…
  • Is it an insect?
  • What is it called?
  • Where does it live?
  • What does it eat?
  • Will it get bigger?
  • How many legs do they have?
  • Do they have eyes?  Hair?
  • Do they have tiny hearts?
  • Can they smell?
  • How do they give off waste?
  • Are they dangerous?
  • How long does it live?
  • How does it reproduce?  Eggs, or babies?
  • How many are born/hatched at time?
  • Do they stay with their family?



*ETC is printed on the hand lens he was using

We think it is a dust mite.  Compare and contrast what we found with MicroGlobalScope Serbia

Getting MicroglobalScope started

マイクログローバルスコープ is Microglobalscope written in Japanese.

Chalk Talk.  We started with brainstorming about what kinds of things we’d like to discover under the microscope.

Excitement has filled the air!  Students love the books, especially the Guide to Microlife!  We were so inspired that we rediscovered a book in our classroom library called Dirt and Grime, by Vicki Cobb.

The Usborne Complete book of the Microscope

Mrs. Nabholz sorts new equipment and labels the chords to keep organized.  This is also the first image taken with the Canon camera. :)


Soon we will look at the prepared slides we received with the Celestron, and make a wet mount of an onion cell to look at.  With our principal’s and parent’s permission, we plan to capture things outside of school unique to our area to share with you!


Welcome Okinawa

Celery 40x - via Wellston Intermediate and Middle School Wellston, Ohio, USA

Hi New Life Academy! Welcome to MicroGlobalScope. Can you find 5 different plants, flowers, insects, bugs, or materials that are unique or iconic to your area and take a photo of each one with your MiScope? Can’t wait to see what you find!