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Science Class and the ProScope Mobile iPad Microscope

Science concepts come alive in the iPad classroom when students apply their knowledge of the scientific method using iPad devices such as ProScope Mobile and AirMicroPad to collect and record their experiments.

In this activity, science students explore the properties of manmade materials with the help of their iPads and ProScope Mobile (a wireless hand-held digital microscope) and AirMicroPad (an iPad app that connects the ProScope Mobile to the iPad through a wireless network, allowing the student to view live video and to capture images).

Explore properties of manmade materials with ProScope Mobile for iPad
Submitted by Dr. Randy Yerrick, professor of science education, State University of New York at Buffalo
Grade level 2nd- to 7th-grade science
Objectives Students learn to collect microscopic data with tools, recognize patterns in manmade materials, develop hypotheses regarding why things are soft, and compare predictions of softness and observed patterns to offer explanations for why some objects are soft and others are not.
Apps/tools ProScope Mobile for the iPad, AirMicroPad app from Bodelin
Materials needed Tissues

Children are rarely asked to explore their own ideas in science. In this activity, students can explore their own personal theories and offer supporting evidence through the digital microscope.

This activity begins with a discussion surrounding the question “What makes things soft?” Students openly discuss their ideas and compare drawings and explanations. Then students are asked to predict what a softer tissue (Kleenex or Puffs) will look like compared to others. Students are sent out around the school to collect samples and images of tissues from teachers’ purses (with said teachers’ permission, of course!), restrooms, and elsewhere.

To gather data, students need to turn on the ProScope Mobile and enter the IP information into the AirMicroPad as they select the new network. After launching the app, ProScope Mobile will broadcast live images, to any iPad within range of its network.

To save time and necessary equipment, tissues can be gathered in advance, and students can log into the ProScope Mobile network through the AirMicroPad so that all the children can take their own photos broadcasted live from ProScope.

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Once the photos have been collected, a blind softness test is conducted by students to rank the tissues for softness. Students should look for features such as consistency of fibers, size of fibers, and distance between fibers. They should see evidence that some of the common predictions have no basis.

For example, students regularly predict cottony and poofy tufts for soft tissues, for which there is rarely evidence. Students also predict finding oils or lotions they have heard from advertisements, but there is rarely evidence of this either.

Students should see that highly uniform, regular, and small threads make for soft tissues. This is analogous to thread count for sheets.

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