Triple Magnifier Kit #100

(grades 3-12)
Three magnifiers with assembly instructions plus 24 starter activities.

Book Cover: Enlarge

sample book cover

Sample Activity: View

Our kit contains 3 magnifiers: A 3X Hand Lens (no assembly needed); a Gumdrop Lens with materials and instructions for building a 25X TOPScope; a Dome Lens with materials and instructions for building a 36X TOPScope. Mount specimens on baby food jars or traditional microscope slides. Explore the world of small, indoors and out, reporting discoveries on reproducible Microspecimen Reports.


Your book orders and tax-deductible contributions sustain our non-profit site. Please help us keep on delivering cheap (but priceless!) hands-on learning to the next generation of learners.


  • free activity
  • book content
  • get materials
  • teaching tips
  • objectives
  • standards

Table of Contents for #100 Triple Magnifier Kit:

Assembly Instructions

Make Lens Holders and Slides • Make TOPScopes • Make Pocket Cases • Care of TOPScopes • Materials

Grade Level Options

Primary • Primary & Middle • Upper Primary & Middle • Middle & Secondary • Secondary

Mounting Materials

Canning Rings • Baby Food Jars • Slides

Mounting Techniques

Granulated Solids • Small Dry Specimens • Fabrics and Threads • Printed Surfaces • Liquids

Starter Activities

  1. 1. granulated solids
  2. 2. seeds
  3. 3. textured surfaces
  4. 4. threads & fibers
  5. 5. printed materials
  6. 6. dead insects and body parts
  7. 7. animal parts
  8. 8. hair
  9. 9. plant parts
  10. 10. soil
  11. 11. pencils and pens
  12. 12. hardware
  13. 13. money
  14. 14. outdoor explorations
  15. 15. measure hair diameter
  16. 16. water suspensions
  17. 17. potato cells
  18. 18. onion cells
  19. 19. cheek cells
  20. 20. yeast cells
  21. 21. grow salt crystals
  22. 22. water vapor
  23. 23. macroscopic pond life
  24. 24. microscopic life

Microspecimen Report

Background • Drawing • Description

Complete Master List for #100 Triple Magnifier Kit:

Starred* items may be purchased in local stores, or direct from TOPS below.
  1. Scissors.
  2. Paper punch.
  3. Stapler.
  4. Deli food containers or other sources of thin, flat, clear plastic.
  5. Rubber bands, two-inch long #14's are ideal.
  6. * Masking tape.
  7. Dinner napkins.
  8. * Canning rings.
  9. Clear, two-inch packaging tape.
  10. * Baby food jars.
  11. * Glass microscope slides (optional).
  12. Convenient Shopping:

    Baby Food Jars - assorted

    without lids

    Each set includes 4 small, 4 medium and 4 large glass jars.

    Canning Rings with Lids

    fit regular-mouth canning jars

    These may be available only seasonally in some stores. Avoid wide-mouth size. Needed for #16 Pressure and #17 Light. Only rings (not lids) are used in #40 Earth, Moon & Sun, and #43 Focus Pocus.

    Tape - masking

    3/4 inch x 55 yd roll

    A handy science supply used in most TOPS modules.

    Microscope Slides

    glass, standard size

    Used in #17 Light for diffraction experiments. For viewing microscope specimens, consider cutting slides, almost for free, from clear plastic bakery cartons. Smooth any sharp edges with sandpaper or an emery board.

Teaching Tips for #100 Triple Magnifier Kit:

As with many TOPS units, simple activities give helpful practice in reading and following directions. Physical results give almost instant feedback, and quick success builds student focus, confidence and enthusiasm. These magnifiers are particularly good tools for students for whom English is not their native language. Keep a couple of magnifiers available in a corner workstation for students who finish tests early, or for constructive activity on rainy days. Consider extra credit for students who come up with new ideas about how to use their magnifiers. This could include experiments with the properties of light and lenses. Please email us with your personal experiences and suggestions that might help or inspire other teachers.

Lesson by Lesson Objectives for #100 Triple Magnifier Kit:

For each collected specimen, our Microspecimen Report form asks students to:
  1. • Identify the object.
  2. • Report its source.
  3. • Supply a large drawing with labeled details.
  4. • Indicate magnification.
  5. • Describe the object with simile and metaphor.
  6. • Report conclusions.
  7. • Ask new questions.

National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) for #100 Triple Magnifier Kit:

TEACHING Standards

These 20 Activity Sheets promote excellence in science teaching by these NSES criteria:
Teachers of science...
A: ...plan an inquiry-based science program. (p. 30)
B: and facilitate learning. (p. 32)
C: ...engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning. (p. 37)
D: and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. (p. 43)

CONTENT Standards

These 20 Activity Sheets contain fundamental content as defined by these NSES guidelines (p. 109).
• Represent a central event or phenomenon in the natural world.
• Represent a central scientific idea and organizing principle.
• Have rich explanatory power.
• Guide fruitful investigations.
• Apply to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
• Can be linked to meaningful learning experiences.
• Are developmentally appropriate for students at the grade level specified.

Unifying Concepts and Processes

NSES Framework: Systems, order, and organization • Evidence, models and explanation • Constancy, change, and measurement • Evolution and equilibrium • Form and function
Core Concepts/Processes: Animal adaptations are driven by natural selection. Successful survival strategies pass from generation to generation. Unsuccessful survival strategies do not.

Science as Inquiry (content standard A)

NSES Framework: Design and conduct a scientific investigation. • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
Core Inquiries: Examine how animals survive in specific environments. Can you design a critter that hides in plain sight; that survives a class vote?

Life Science (content standard C)

NSES Framework: The characteristics of organisms • Organisms and environments • Structure and function in living systems • Populations and ecosystems • Diversity and adaptations of organisms • Interdependence of organisms • Behavior of organisms
Core Content: Camouflage • Mimicry • Predators and prey • Hide, fight or flight?

Earth and Space Science (content standard D)

NSES Framework: Properties of earth materials