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Zoom into Microscopy

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Keywords: organisms, microscopic, microscopy, photography
Subject(s): Spelling, Photography, Biology, Writing, Life Science, Technology, Grammar, Science
Grades 6 through 8
School: LaSalle Intermediate Academy, South Bend, IN
Planned By: Sharon Brandt
Original Author: Sharon Brandt, South Bend
As a component of a larger study of the characteristics of life, students will explore characteristics, traits, and structures of microscopic organisms.

Students will already have learned how to operate a light microscope with three objective lenses and will have had experience with focusing, measurement, and technical drawing.

Materials required for each lab group include:
microscope and slide kit
digital camera
computer with Power Point software

Using their eyes, then a hand lens, students will document observations and photograph each of the organisms in their medium. (As these organisms are microscopic, there should be little to see!)

Using a microscope, students will focus on each organism at 4x, 10x, and 100x power. Written observations, focusing on characteristics of life, physical characteristics, traits, and structures, will be noted in lab journals. Holding the digital camera to the eyepiece, students will capture an image of each organism at each power.

(The following URL shows video and images of a zebra fish embryo taken with a digital camera held to the eyepiece of a microscope. Many photos on this site were taken by myself and my lab partner during a workshop held at Notre Dame. http://ndercbioeyes.wikispaces.com/Photos+and+Videos)

gathered observational and photographic data, students will locate additional sources of information about each organism and create a Power Point presentation that can be printed for use as a picture book or displayed electronically for peer review. Each page will include photographs of exactly what the student saw and what he or she observed. Additional information gathered from academic sources will be included to extend learning.

Each presentation/book will include:

Title Page
Table of Contents
Unaided observation (naked eye)
Hand lens observation
4x microscopic observation
10x microscopic observation
40x microscopic observation
Works cited

Student work will be assessed using a rubric designed to evaluate lab notes.
Our school has all equipment neccessary to facilitate this lesson except for digital cameras.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The product of this lesson can be used to help younger students learn about microscopic life. Language arts teachers can use the product to assess writing and research skills. Technology teachers can use the product to assess ability to use presentation software.
Students may use the same format to investigate other materials, such as plant matter, and create "zoom" documentation of their inquiry.
Links: Link to NDeRC Bioeyes Workshop
Materials: Power, Computer Accessories, CDs and DVDs, Batteries, Flash/USB Drives, Camera Bags, Hard Drives, Televisions, Digital SLR, Digital Cameras, Keyboards, LCD Monitors, Office Suite, Word Processor
Other Items: 32 rechargeable batteries (sets of 4 with recharger), $15 each, total of $480.00
8 camera bags, $15 each, total of $120.00
8 digital camera, $200 each, total of $1600.00