Perspectives: Powers of 10

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In this activity, learners complete a series of drawing activities to explore scale and powers of 10. Learners first trace each other on 1-meter-square pieces of paper. Next, they trace a found object like a leaf next to the body outline. They divide the paper into 100 squares and redraw what they see in one square in their notebook. Eventually, learners will end up with a miniaturized version of their original drawing. Use this activity to introduce learners to how scientists use specialized tools to study small things.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Science notebook
  • Crayons, markers, or pencils
  • Assorted objects, such as leaves, notebook paper, or flowers
  • Pre-cut butcher paper or bulletin board paper (1 meter square)
  • Meter stick, tape measure, or other measuring device
  • Hand lens
  • Field microscope
  • Scissors


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Optical Society of America, 2008