Introduction to Microscopes

My children are intrigued by how things look under a microscope. So, I obviously wanted to turn such interest into a more in-depth learning experience. First, I took a picture of our microscope and labeled all the parts.

If you have a similar microscope and would like to use our picture, you can download it here for free Labeled Microscope. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the parts of the microscope as the objective of the lesson was simply to name the parts by its proper name. If you don’t have a microscope, Amazon has some excellent and affordable options.

We then jumped right into using the microscope within the context of learning how the internal parts of a plant help them survive, reproduce, behave, and grow. I used the commercial and economical set of slides by AmScope. Despite their low price they are very good quality. Great deal for the price! You can get them through Amazon or any learning store.

I wanted to guide their work hence, I used sugar and salt to get them thinking about how to describe substances in ways that are rich and useful. I prepared a microscope slide (labeled A) with sugar and another one (labeled B) with salt. We looked at these together and created a word bank of appropriate descriptive words by category. This is what they came up with some prompting.

Criteria Descriptors
Color White, blue, black, brown, gray
Geometric shape Prism, circular, asymmetrical, spherical, round, rectangular
Clarity Transparent, translucent, opaque, reflective
Pattern Repetitive, not visible

Although I usually encourage my children to write in their  journals I just wanted to have fun in the lesson, so they didn’t record the word bank. You may want to extend the lesson and encourage your children to record these observations in their science journal. It will be handy in future lessons, that’s for sure!

Finally, on a different day, I gave my girls the AmScope slides: fern root, fern stem, and fern leaf.  For each slide, the task was to observe, draw, and describe. We had a lot of fun and the girls can confidently and independently use the microscope any time!

Reizelie is a parent and a PhD mama trained in science education with a passion for all things STEM. She loves learning and teaching and on her spare time she helps families create home environments that foster learning. Reizelie is committed to a healthy lifestyle and shares ideas on education, cooking, urban homesteading, and fitness.

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