The Foldscope Challenge

Unveil a whole new world

What can a microscope in the hands of a child do?

Go back in time to your biology class in school. How did you learn? You read about something and then, if you were lucky enough to study in a school that had an expensive microscope, you peered through it and ratified your learning.

Now imagine, we turn that whole process around. What if a child was first given a microscope to peer through and discover a whole new world around her? Microscopes after all, have a long history of enabling curiosity, and catalyzing discovery. This is experiential learning. We turn children into scientists and ask them to look first. What they see makes them so fascinated and curious that they then want to pile through everything that’s known in books, so that they can venture into the unknown. The only catch here is that, microscopes as we know them are expensive! Or are they?

FocusU brings to you a unique challenge – where you have an opportunity to change the world of children in a special way. The challenge we lay out for your team is straight forward: To assemble a fully working microscope – a foldscope! The Foldscope is a folding paper microscope that costs a fraction of a regular microscope but is durable and amazingly useful, according to inventor Manu Prakash of Stanford University.

Here’s a peep into what you could potentially be enabling: Inspired by the movie Frozen, one six-year-old is turning her attention to crystals, drawing and documenting everything she sees in her own lab notebook. A man in Washington is making a database of all the types of pollen grains in the local area. A youngster in Namibia has trained his Foldscope on the world’s largest bacterium, an oceanic species that is visible to the naked eye. And the community of foldscope users is only growing larger and larger. Beyond inspiring curiosity, Foldscopes can also help health care workers quickly, cheaply and safely diagnose blood-borne illnesses in the field.

At FocusU we are delighted to bring this path breaking invention to the corporate workshop scenario. Depending on the time available, the challenge is laid out in one, two or three phases. The first phase involves just building the microscope from scratch. The second phase involves going around as a team for the next 45 minutes and taking photos of the amazing new world that comes to life around us. And the third phase involves actually donating it to school children and explaining how it works to them!

A few key parameters:

Would this workshop be right for my team?
The Foldscope Challenge is a unique offering with a CSR tilt. It can be used to spark discussions around topics like:
⦁ Frugal Innovation
⦁ Collaboration between team members while handling new ambiguous challenges
⦁ The importance of sparking curiosity in teams
⦁ Having a larger purpose to the work that we do
⦁ Looking beyond the obvious

The shared experience is also a great way to build bridges between team members. Challenge your team to together take the Foldscope Challenge!

Contact Us today - we will be glad to meet up and discuss the possibilities for your team!