Science Fun

Jello Lenses

jello lenses

Watch Scientist Joe as he makes the Jello Lenses Experiment here!

Materials:

  • 1 package of gelatin dessert mixture (like Jell-O). Light colors (lemon, lime) work better than really dark ones (grape or blue raspberry)
  • 3/4 cup of water in a mug
  • Round-bottomed measuring spoons and measuring cups
  • A paper towel
  • A cutting board or tray

Instructions:

  1. Get an adult to help you with this one-we’re dealing with near-boiling water! Start by heating the 3/4 cup of water in the microwave for a minute and a half.
  2. Pour the gelatin powder into a bowl, then pour the hot water over the powder. Mix them together for two minutes.
  3. Let the liquid cool for about ten minutes.
  4. Cover a cutting board or a flat tray with a paper towel.
  5. Scoop out some liquid with the small measuring spoons, then place them on the paper towel.
  6. To fill the larger measuring cups, place the empty cups on the paper towel and carefully pour the gelatin liquid in. Try not to spill, this stuff makes a pretty sticky mess to clean!
  7. Carefully move your tray or cutting board to the fridge. Wait 4 hours for it to cool completely.
  8. After four hours, you can gently remove your lenses from the spoons and cups. Wash your hands in the sink before your touch them, wet hands mean the gelatin won’t stick to your skin while you are pulling them out.
  9. Add a little water to the bottom of a glass plate or bowl. Then place a lens inside, flat side down.
  10. Move the bowl over different things to see them up close!

How it Works:

Lenses bend light as it moves through them. Your gelatin lenses work just the same way as telescopes, microscopes, binoculars, and eyeglasses!

Extra Experiments:

You made a few different sizes of lenses, how are they different? Is your biggest lens the best one? The lenses in microscopes are pretty small, can a small lens still magnify things?