Topic Progress:

Idea to Explore

Taking a closer look at the hidden world around us.

This approach could be applied to looking more closely at an environment or a set of topic related objects (e.g. manmade materials in science or food stuffs in technology).


First, we introduced the learners to the magnification tool on the iPad. There is a similar tool on Android devices.

Next, we used it to explore a collection of day-to-day familiar items to get used to magnifying with the iPad, using a slider and a button to freeze the image. We improvised with ways to place the iPad above the item so as to keep it still whilst magnifying.


  • Close up
  • Zoom in
  • Magnifiy (magnification, magnified)


We chose one of the objects or materials explored, froze the magnification and took a screenshot.

Following that we looked for something interesting in the magnified image, such as a pattern, a set of marks, or unusual characteristics.


In the develop phase, we used drawing tools to draw from the magnified image, seeking to observe and make marks to show the surface revealed by the magnification. We aimed to create abstract patterns rather than draw a ‘picture’ of the object itself.

An optional extension was to digitally manipulate the magnified image or a take a photo of the drawing to experiment with colour and contrast effects.


Each pair of students were then to collect three images:

  • A photo of their object against a white background
  • A screenshot of their magnified area
  • A photograph of their drawing from the screenshot
  • As an optional extension: save one of the digitally manipulated images

International Collaboration

We created a close up guessing game of images to send to another country to challenge them.


Everyday materials such as textiles, classroom objects and natural materials.

Magnification enabled on iPads or Android devices or a magnification app such as Big Magnify. Photo manipulation apps such as Be Funky

Art supplies: e.g. 4B pencils, felt pens, wax crayons, Brusho paint crystals, cartridge paper


You could take these ideas further by using iPad with extra attachments such as a macro lens:

Useful links:
Gary Greenburg Microscope photography:
Klari Reiss:

STEM to STEAM Analysis

Science: The properties of everyday materials and objects – looking more closely using a magnification app

Technology: Using magnification and photography apps on iPads or Android devices

Engineering: An extension of these ideas might be to make large scale models of small objects

Art: Observation drawing, mark making, use of drawing tools, photography

Mathematics: Scale, proportion, relative sizes

After you have reviewed these materials click on Mark Complete at the bottom of this page to continue.