Teacher Newsletter | Pensacola MESS Hall

Teacher Newsletter

To enrich your student’s science experience, the Pensacola MESS Hall has a lot to offer. From open exploration or in-depth themed field trips to classroom workshops and science shows, there is a lot to know! That’s why, once a month, we’ll send you our Teacher Newsletter to keep you updated on our programming. Learn about booking field trips, get details about a featured program, and let us tell you about hot topics in science news and hands-on activities for you to share with your students.

If you have any questions or comments, the best way to contact us is at groups@pensacolamesshall.org. Tell us what you’re looking for to supplement your students’ science education.
Click here for a list of all School Programming.

August/September Teacher Newsletter

Jump To:
Things to Know | Featured ProgramScience News | Classroom Activity | Learn More

Things to Know

  • Teacher Open House. August 29th, 5pm to 8pm
  • Book a field trip for the 2019 – 2020 school year by requesting field trip dates.
  • We can come to your school, no buses required! Check out what we can offer at your school on our outreach page.
  • The MESS Hall will be closed September 3rd and 4th for museum maintenance.

Featured Program

Educator Open House & Appreciation Night 

Calling all Educators! Come visit the MESS Hall during our Educator Open House & Appreciation Night on August 29, 2019 from 5pm-8pm. This teachers-only event will let you learn about the MESS Hall’s vast offerings for teachers onsite and off. Explore the MESS Hall exhibits and activities, and meet our Education Team. All attendees with school IDs will receive a free, 4 person six-month pass for themselves or to give away. Restrictions apply.

Science News Brief

Earth’s Atmosphere as a Lens?

As astronomers try to peer further into the universe, telescopes keep getting bigger and more expensive. What if there were a better way?

One scientist proposes to use the atmosphere of the Earth as one giant lens for a telescope that would be in orbit about 1.5 million miles from our planet. Lenses bend, or refract light, allowing for objects from far away appear to be closer. If this proposed design could work, astronomers could see much dimmer objects.

While other astronomers are skeptical of the proposed idea, some praise the creative thinking.

Classroom Science Activity

Use a water drop as a lens with this activity.


  • Strips of cardboard 1 in. x 3 in.
  • Hole punch
  • Clear packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Cup of water
  • Pipettes
  • Paper with small printed text (could use small type on cereal boxes, etc.)


  1. Punch a hole using the hole punch in the center of a cardboard strip. If this is too difficult, students can use a sharpened pencil to poke a hole, or this step can be done earlier by the teacher.
  2. Cover one side of the cardboard strip with clear packing tape. 
  3. Look at the sample text through the tape. 
  4. Discuss what you see.
  5. Place a drop of water over the hole. 
  6. Look at the sample text through the water droplet.
  7. Discuss what you see through the lens.

MESS Around

Does the magnification change if you have less water?
Does the magnification change if you have more water?
Can you think of a different way to use water as a lens?

What’s going on?

What you’re looking through with the water drop microscope is a model of a very early microscope. Instead of a glass bead we’re using a drop of water to provide magnification.

The curved surface of the water droplet, unlike a flat surface, bends the light as it comes out from the water, and causes the magnification effect. This effect is very similar to how a microscope or magnifying glass works, except instead of a curved drop of water, the lens is made of a curved piece of glass. The more curved the water droplet (or glass lens) is, the higher the magnification.

If you have access to glass or plastic microscope slides, these can be taped at the edges above the cardboard strip. The drop of water can be placed on the glass slide instead of the clear packing tape.

More Information

Click here for more information on our Classroom Programs. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the best updates on our upcoming programs and events, both for your classroom and your family.

If you are not already, be sure you are signed up for our monthly Teacher Newsletter to stay up-to-date on what the MESS Hall has to offer, and to receive the science news and activities we share with you!

As always, feel free to email any questions about program details or booking to groups@pensacolamesshall.org.