Make an Underwater Viewing Scope

Life abounds under the water!
small boy stands beside a pond
© Can Stock Photo / Macsim

Using an underwater viewer enables you to discover much about life underwater without having to catch any animals. You can use the viewer in a stream, lake or in tide pools. Here's how to make one!

What you’ll need

  • A large can or pop bottle

  • Clear plastic

  • Strong elastic bands

  • Scissors, x-acto knife or can opener

What to do

1. Carefully take the top and bottom off a tin or a plastic bottle (get an adult to help you). Make sure there are no sharp edges.

Make an Underwater Viewing Scope step 1

2. Fix the clear plastic tightly to one end with an elastic band.

Make an Underwater Viewing Scope step 2

3. Push the plastic end into the water and look through it.

Make an Underwater Viewing Scope - Step 3

Now you can explore the underwater world with your scope! Depending on the type of aquatic environment you are looking at (for example, freshwater or marine, still water like a pond or moving such as a stream), you will be able to see different underwater animals. Make sketches of your observations and see if you can identify the creatures using aquatic animal guides. The types of animals found in an environment can also give us clues as to the health of the environment. For example, stone fly larva are very sensitive to pollution and if you find them in a stream, the water is very clean.

Make an Underwater Viewing Scope

For more ideas on exploring nature with your family visit Nature Kids BC. If you are already a member, remember you can use the underwater scope as part of your Action Awards quest! 

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