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Make a Water Scope

How would you like to get a closer look at the creatures in a pool, pond or stream near you? Make a scope and see what you can see underwater!

Ranger Rick
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Participant Age: 7 to 12
Approximate Cost: $0
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Plastic yogurt container
  • Recycled steel can, 15-16 ounce size
  • Can opener
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber band (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Stream or pond
Gather your supplies.
It's fun to make this outside so gather the items from around the house first.
Cut the yogurt container lid.

With strong scissors or an exacto knife, cut a large circle in your yogurt lid.


Cut a circle in the bottom of the yogurt container.
Just like the lid, cut a circle in the bottom of the yogurt container. The circle should be about the same size as your steel can.
Put plastic wrap over the top of the yogurt container.

Then snap on the lid. This is a critical step to ensure water does not rush in to the waterscope. We tried tape and rubber bands, and nothing worked as well as the yogurt lid. That's because air pressure holds it on and creates a great seal.


Use a rubber band to hold down the plastic wrap.

You can use a rubber band to hold the plastic wrap close to the yogurt container, but it's optional.


Cut both ends out of your steel can.

When you cut off the ends, if there are any sharp bits, remove them with pliers and/or tape over them with duct tape.

Then turn over your yogurt container so the lid is facing the table. Place the steel can on top and tape it on with duct tape. This extends the length of your waterscope and allows you to look deeper under water.


Check out your new waterscope!
It's ready to help you find cool creatures and plants underwater!
Take to the water.
Take your scope to a pond or shallow stream and put it into the water with the plastic-wrap end down. You should be able to see under the water clearly. It's best if you keep your scope in one place and don't move around too much. That way, the animals won't be afraid to come close, and you'll get a good look at them.

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