Big and Little

Try This At Home

Make a magnifying glass with water

You Will Need

  • Sandwich size plastic bag with zipper type closure
  • Water
  • A newspaper or book to magnify words or pictures

What to Do

  • Find a book or newspaper with words or pictures that you would like to magnify.
  • Fill your bag about half way with water. Seal up the bag and dry it off if water has dripped on the outside.t of the bag over your book
  • Hold the water-filled par newspaper. Look through the water. What do you see?
  • Experiment by moving the bag closer and further from the text or picture and by adding or removing water from the bag. Allow your child to comment and explain their observations.

What’s Happening?

This experiment works because the water will bend light (refraction) through water in a bag, simulating how a magnifying glass bends light to make objects appear larger. A magnifying glass uses a curved piece of glass called a lens to bend light when the light moves from the air through the glass lens.

Discover More

Use tools that magnify things such as a magnifying glass, binoculars or telescopes, and look at things from far away and see how they look when magnified (bigger than they do without the tools).

Did You Know?

Things that are further away look smaller than things that are closer. For example, from our perspective, the Sun and the Moon look almost exactly the same size. But of course the Sun is a lot bigger than the Moon. The Sun measures 1.4 million km’s across, while the Moon is only 3474 km’s across. In other words, the Sun is roughly 400 times larger than the Moon. The Sun also happens to be 400 times further away than the Moon. This is why we can have solar eclipses where the Moon passes in front of the Sun, just barely obscuring it from our view.