Science Experiment: Build an Underwater Scope

Build an Underwater Scope

Sometimes the best way to learn is to dive right in. Since people can’t breathe below the surface, we need special equipment to discover the underwater world. SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) divers use air tanks or submarines to study the world below the surface of the water.  Fun Fact, to be a master scuba diver, you have to be over 12 years old. 

In the state of Wisconsin, there are over 15,000 inland lakes ranging in depth from 350 feet to 5 feet. The much easier way to get close to these animals which make their homes in lakes, rivers, and streams is to make your own underwater scope. That is our fun activity for today!

You will need: an Old Coffee Can or Large Juice Can, Plastic Wrap, a Sturdy Rubber Band, Scissors, Safety Can Opener

  1. Using the can opener, cut the end off the coffee can, to make a tube. You may need adult help with this as the edges may be sharp.
  2. With scissors, cut a circle of plastic wrap to fit over one end of the cut side of the can. This is because you want to use the “not sharp” side to see through. Make sure it overlaps by at least two inches of the side of the can.
  3. Stretch the plastic wrap tight like a drum and secure it with the rubber band. You may want to tape the edges of the plastic wrap down with duct tape or another strong tape to make sure it is securely tight.
  4. Take it along the next time you head out to a lake, river, or stream, stand in the shallows, and you can watch the minnows swim by your feet. With the open end of your scope facing up, place the covered end of the tube about one inch below the surface of the water. Look down into the water through the scope to discover a whole new world!