It happens all the time: you’re out on a nature walk, and you see a tiny, pretty leaf or a dead bug or interesting rock or something else that you want to take back with you and investigate. But alas, you’re unprepared to transport your new discovery! Fear not. With a little planning and a handy Altoids tin, you could be prepared for all of your amateur scientist experiments. Let me start this with the disclaimer that I’m not a scientist, though I do love science. What I’m suggesting here is a collection of items that should be easy enough to carry around in a tin that fits in most people’s pockets. If you’re teaching your kids about science, you may want to customize it for what they can safely handle, leaving out some elements, and perhaps including others. You’ll also want to customize based on what you plan to do with your specimens when you bring them to your secret lab. You should be able to find many of these items around the house. If not, try a dollar store. Either way, I’d recommend that you bring along your Altoids tin, or whatever container you plan to use, to make sure the items you’re considering will all fit. You might need to cut a few things down to size, if possible, or make some substitutions if you can’t. Start with the tin. While lots of people like Altoids tins, I prefer the kind that Sucrets used to come in. I’ve seen some metal tins that feature a tin held in place by pressure where the lid comes off completely, as opposed to the kind with a hinged lid that closes securely. Personally, I prefer a hinged lid; it’s easier to open and close. The outside measurements of my tin, when closed, are 2.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches long by 0.75 inches tall. As you fill your tin, make sure you can still close it securely! We’ll start with tiny plastic bags, the kind that are two inches square and press securely closed. Most people who have beads or make jewelry have plenty of these. You’ll want four...Read More
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