Zoom In, Zoom Out

Rugged ridges

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Activity overview

15 mins
Ages 5 – 7

Science topics:

Living things and their habitats

Take a closer look at this everyday object. Can your class use their reasoning skills to work out what it is?

Run the activity

You will be zooming in and out of the image above – starting very close and stepping back slowly.

1. Start by asking everyone:

  • What do they think the image is and why?
  • What does the image remind them of and why?

2. Every time you zoom out, ask the class:

  • Can they describe the colours, shapes and textures?
  • What do they think the image is now – have they changed their minds?

Background science

Seashells are inhabited by members of the mollusc family, such as clams, mussels and limpets. Molluscs don't have skeletons, but they do have hard external shells to protect them, both from the elements when they are exposed during low tide and from predators. 

This shell remains long after the animal has died and leaves evidence that it once existed. Scientists believe that if they find signs of life on Mars it is more likely to be the remains of past life rather than anything that is currently living, although any remains are likely to be microscopic rather than anything as dramatic as a seashell.


The ExoMars mission is looking for signs of life on Mars. We've got lots of activities to support your own Mars exploration. Read more on our blog! 

Take it further

Provide a selection of different seashells for children to examine and describe. Challenge them to sort them according to different characteristics such as their shape, their colour, texture or size. They may also be interested in the Zoom in Zoom out activity ‘Brown and Bumpy’, which shows a more familiar gastropod that is still alive. They may also enjoy the Odd One Out activity ‘Signs Of Life’, which will encourage them to think more about the topic.

Image Credit: InspiredImages via Pixabay