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Recycled Microscope

30-45 min


8 – 13

What Will You Learn?

You are going to build a microscope to observe and explore small things around you from insects to chemical reactions, getting closer to the world of science, while learning about lenses and how they work.

Cut Your Container

Step 1

Take your marker and your detergent container, and mark a rectangle around the front of your container, starting on the left side and ending on the right, this is where you can place your samples to observe


Tip: you can use the ruler to be more precise.

Step 2

Use your scissors to cut out the rectangle you just marked.

Also cut the lid of your container on top of the size of your largest tube.

Create the Mechanism

Step 3

Take the foam and cut 3 pieces, the length of your small tube and 2 cm thick. Then stick them inside the small tube with the help of your hot glue gun. Then place the large tube inside it and finally place them inside the lid.

A tip: You will notice that the small tube will remain in our snap-on cap, if you wish you can use hot glue to glue it to our cap. Now you can move the big tube up and down.

The mechanism is ready!

Finish Your Microscope!

Step 4

Glue the magnifying glass to the end of the larger tube

Your microscope is almost finished!

Step 5

Take a piece of cardboard, and mark the outline of your container, then cut it, place it inside your microscope and glue it with the help of the hot glue gun.

Step 6

Great, you finished your microscope, it’s time to test it, place an object on your cardboard base and place your eye on top of your cardboard tube, you can move your mechanism (from top to bottom) to focus the samples, thanks to the magnifying glass.

Loupes are a type of convex or convergent lens, thick in the middle and thin on the sides. This lens is of short focal length and deflects the light that falls on it, forming an amplified and virtual image of the object that is being observed through the magnifying glass.

What's Next?

You can experiment with modifying your microscope, for example changing the size of the magnifying glass or lens.

You can also learn about other types of microscopes.

Take it Further?

You can take this further, modifying the mechanism of the microscope, adding more magnifying glasses separating them by their focal length, in this way we increase the power of the magnification.

Further Resources


Convex or Converging Lenses: Convex or converging lenses are thick in the center and taper progressively closer to the edges. When light passes through this type of lens, it converges (coalesces) at a certain point.

Concave lenses: They are thick at the edges and this thickness progressively decreases as you get closer to the center, causing the light rays that pass through them to separate.

Microscope: It is a tool that allows observing objects that are too small to be observed with the naked eye. The most common type and the first that was invented is the optical microscope composed of lenses, which form and magnify the image of the object that is being observed.

Focal length: indicates the angle of view, that is, how much of the scene will be captured, and the magnification, how large the individual elements will be. The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification.


Diego Francisco June 4, 2021
I am a full-stack developer, I have participated in technology and innovation competitions. I have collaborated with companies such as: Sesame Street, Make Community and in Mexico with Educational Television and Fundación Televisa, as well as with CONACYT creating educational content. We have designed and taught workshops throughout the Mexican Republic with Talent Land, the SEP of Jalisco and the Spain Cultural Center. And all this with the educational brand that I created with my sister. MoonMakers.