How to pique your kid’s interest in science and optics

 

It is supremely amazing how children are born to be natural scientists. Ever curious about the world around them, they pick up bugs and sticks and ask endless questions about what they find. Today’s modern parent ought to be armed with answers, or an approximation of the actual ones if their child’s interest in science and optics is to be sustained.

There are a variety of experiments on optics that can be performed to explain the many scientific concepts of the field. It is not simply teaching your child the scientific statements such as how light bends when traveling through different substances or how it scatters when it hits something in its path.

In fact, black and white are not just the presence and absence of all colors, respectively.

For scientists 10 years and older, you could try the following adult-supervised activities.

 

 

Basic optics

For an experiment on bending light, you will need a utility knife; a clear, cylindrical drinking glass; scotch tape; water; a flashlight; a piece of colored plastic; a shoebox or other similar container without a top.

Two vertical slits have to be carefully cut in one end of the box, with the space between the slits smaller than the width of the drinking glass. The colored plastic has to be taped in place over one of the slits.

Then, the room has to be put in darkness and the flashlight turned on. The torch will be shined into the box through the slits. Ask the young scientist to look inside the box and find out what the light is doing. Let the child see where the light rays appear on the side of the box.

Water is then poured into the glass and then placed in the center of the box. Then, with the room in darkness once again, the flashlight is shined through the slits into the box. Let the child observe the action of the light this time and where the light rays now appear on the side of the box. Ask what happens to the light beams after they hit the glass of water.

This experiment shows how optical lenses bend light and how the eye manipulates the light that enters it.

 

 

Another lens activity

For this experiment, you will need a Science Notebook, two convex lenses, two concave lenses, a flashlight, and a piece of white paper.

Let the child write down in the notebook the shape of the lenses, how they are alike, and how they are different. Then, have the young scientist look at the pages of the book, a strand of hair, your hands, and other things through the lenses. Let them draw what they see in the notebook and to label each image with the lens type used to view it.

This time, ask the child how the concave and the convex lenses made things look.

To show how lenses bend light in different directions, shine the flashlight through each lens into the piece of white paper and have the child observe and note the direction the convex and the concave lenses bend light. Have the scientist draw what they see in the science notebook.

Then, use a combination of lenses to show what happens when multiple optics are used simultaneously. Can two different lenses be used to get up-close images of faraway objects?

Your budding scientist should have a pretty good idea of how lenses in optical devices work through the above experiments.

 

 

 

How to buy your first telescope

 

 

I’ve never been a great fan of science, and I kind of blame my parents for that. They were so focused on me getting good grades at school that they left out explaining things to me. For instance, one of the subjects I’ve always loathed was physics. I couldn’t understand the least thing about all of the normal phenomena happening on Earth, and the fact that the teacher had little to no patience probably didn’t do me any good.

I tried convincing myself that physics was important and that I had to somehow pique my own interest in the field. While that did not happen on the whole, I did find myself passionate about particular areas such as optics and the physics behind the working of a lever, for instance. That helped me out in the future because I went on to study veterinary medicine and I had to use a microscope. If I had had little to no interest in optics, I wouldn’t have known how the device worked, although most of the models available these days are rather user-friendly.

Of course, my higher education didn’t start out while I was in high school so for some time, I had to limit my hobbies and try to do as much as I could out of these interests. Being in school, I didn’t have that much money, so it would have been impossible to get a high-quality telescope or microscope.

In the course of a year, I managed to save enough for a telescope, but since back then the power of the Internet wasn’t all-encompassing, it was difficult for me to make a good choice. So, finding a good telescope for beginners was my goal and I had to ask around, call various magazines and ask for catalogs and use pretty much any resource I could come across at the public library.

Eventually, I decided that I had to focus on three major things. One of them would be the aperture, as it pretty much defined the magnification and the array of celestial objects I would be able to look at. The other would be the focal length, although I found this factor to be of minor importance when compared to the aperture. Finally, I wanted a model that came with a good-quality mounting system that would allow me to use it both from my room and from the middle of a field.

I’ve recently started to look for a beginner’s telescope for my son, and much to my surprise, things have changed a lot since I was a teenager. You have all the info you need at the tip of your fingers.

 

If you wonder why I wrote this post, here you go. It’s an old article, but I just found it.

 

What is a trail camera and what can you use it for?

 

 

The core purpose of a trail camera is to capture images of animals and/or other subjects in the absence of the owner. Most of the models I have come across come equipped with long-lasting batteries, so they can do their job for a reasonable amount of time. Whether they are used by photographers, artists, or hunters, these devices are made to be rugged and withstand both the elements and the test of time. They can also be utilized for surveillance.

Deciding on a particular model is quite an adventure, partly because there are a plethora of choices to take into account and partly because you might not have established your application. Such cameras can range from models that can take stills to those that are capable of shooting video. For convenience and ease of use, I would recommend getting a model that works with SD cards as in this way, you won’t encounter too many difficulties when shopping or replacing your original card.

As for the specifications that you will have to look at, they range from the camera’s field of view to its trigger speed and detection range. Sometimes, even the design of the product matters for the end-user as such a camera needs to be as undetectable as possible. Whether you are surveilling humans or animals, you wouldn’t want a model that stands out from the scenery. Of course, it would be amazing if you were to find a unit that is relatively easy to utilize. While it as an idealistic scenario, it would be best if you were to get a product that worked with an app that you could use on your phone. However, in certain areas such as a forest, that would be impossible as there’s no reception, let alone any wireless connection. Regrettably, trail cameras cannot be used as baby monitors.

Despite this minor inconvenience, trail cameras are trustworthy friends, particularly for hunters. Of course, they need to make sure that they fasten the device onto a tree or install it in some other place where animals cannot damage it. Mounting the device lower can prove to be a good idea if the hunter’s target consists of birds and other small animals whereas an installation above 30 inches is needed for deer and other bigger game.

Nighttime observation also needs to be given some thought to. The flash can spook coyotes and predators, but it doesn’t affect deer, for example. The shutters on the camera can be triggered using a variety of methods, but the one preferred by hunters seems to be by radio remote. Once it is set up properly and you’ve selected all of the settings you need, your camera can even operate on its own.