Macro Lens set for Stories in the Snow Project with DRI

Grant Applicant
Laurie Scheibner
School Site
Tahoe Lake Elementary
Grant Category
Mathematics & Science
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, has a Citizen Science project to research the correlation of snow flake shapes and weather conditions.  Tahoe Lake Elementary was one of the schools selected to be part of their sponsored project this past year.  As such we were able to borrow a number of their photography kits to have students take photos of snowflakes to upload to their project.  Tahoe Lake already had iPads, and the photo kids include a macro lens, a catch pad, and a carrying case.  The app is a free download (Citizen Science Tahoe) which we put on the iPads in the iPad cart for use by any student.  

The macro lenses that come with the kits are rubber band mounted, so are not really stretchy enough and durable enough to be used repeatedly on the iPads.  The thought is that if we had our own macro lenses, we could continue the project, but the existing kits could go to another school  next year, adding to their student participation.  If we cannot obtain the catch pads that DRI uses and lent to us with the kits, can do something similar with black felt swatches - very easily and cheaply replaceable. 

This is a great use of local resources and local "real science" for our students, as we definitely have a number of snowy days, and weather is very relevant to our students.  Desert Research Institute is a local science resource to partner with.  With the materials permanently on site instead of seasonally on loan, then students could use the materials through both the Science Lab and through their classroom teachers, if any particular teacher wanted to access them. 

Stories in the Snow is a research based project that is truly STEAM - using the science of weather, technology via the iPad and a particular app and its navigation, and the art of photography skills.  It is community science, allowing students to contribute to the local database in a fun and meaningful way.  Any student can participate, but third grade studies weather as part of their NGSS standards, so it is particularly relevant to them.

The grant would go towards the purchase of twelve clip-on macro lenses to be used with the existing iPads. The Citizen Science app is free.  The lenses could also be used for other science purposes, such as  examining closeups of small flora and fauna, or also to be used for technology photography. 


Benefits of Program (10 points)

The requested macro lenses would become part of the Science Lab equipment to be used in conjunction with the school iPads.  The primary use would be for the Stories in the Snow application, and the benefit would be in making a connection for students that they, as local citizens, can help with legitimate real world scientific research. Whenever we can connect the "world out there" with what happens on campus or in our own classroom, students have a reason for using and applying the skills learned, and connecting their learning to their own life. experience. 

The lenses can also be used for other applications - Citizen Science Tahoe has other observations such as algae studies of Lake Tahoe.  When teachers take students on walking field trips, they could borrow the lenses and some of the school iPads to participate in one or more of the other Citizen Science projects. 


Success of Program (10 points)

All students could use the lenses, but anticipated use would be predominantly 3rd grade, with 4th grade also being allowed to borrow them for snowy day photography.  Training for their use would be at the 3rd grade level with a possible refresher at 4th grade level.  Classroom teachers could borrow them if they saw an appropriate use in their classrooms.

Implementation (10 points)

Stories in the Snow is a science project that Tahoe Lake Elementary participated in already in the 2018-19 school year.  The purchase of macro lenses would allow the return of the current loaner kits to Desert Research Institute for use at another school, but would still allow Tahoe Lake Elementary students to continue with the project in coming years.

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

As the Science Lab services all students at the school site, all students may have access to the lenses at some point.  Preference would be given to 3rd grade, as studying weather particularly fits in with their science standards.  4th graders would have already used the iPads and similar lenses, so they could use them at recess or through their classroom teachers to additionally take more photos.  The Technology teacher is also aware that the app is on the iPad, and could use the lenses specifically to teach digital photography, which is sometimes an addition to a technology project being taught - she sometimes teaches students how to embed a photo or how to save a file to a specific place, and this gives her an additional tool to access.

Once purchased, the lenses should be sustainable. Having the lenses makes the project sustainable. With 12 lenses, students could use the iPad / lens setup in pairs, and due to small class sizes, 12 should be adequate. Even groups of 3 are able to be productive. If we needed to replace one or two, they are fairly inexpensive, so that small cost could probably be absorbed into annual science funding.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$132 - cell phone macro camera lens x 12 @ 8.
Budget Notes

As Amazon constantly changes their vendor partners, it may be possible that this particular disappears and a similar purchase from another vendor has a slightly different price or offering.


File Uploads
lens grant.JPG (150.88 KB)