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Science & Nature

Intro to Microscopy (Ages 9-12)

In this one-time class, we will explore using microscopes, and introduce how to make slides.
Melinda Dooley
86 total reviews for this teacher
2 reviews for this class
Completed by 9 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
Meets once
55 minute class

There are no open spots for this class.

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Class Experience

Students will be introduced to safely using microscopes, both analog (a standard laboratory light microscope) and digital.  We will explore professionally-made slides (pre-made slides that are commercially available), and talk about making our own homemade slides.  

After taking this class, students will be able to make simple slides, focus their microscope to see those slides, and discuss what they see in basic terms.
I've taught microscopy to all ages for many years, and broached the concept of using animals in a laboratory with many young learners. 
No homework is mandatory, but my goal is for students to want to spend more time with their microscopes, exploring the microscopic world around them.  
In order to make one's own slides, one needs slides (glass slides have the best clarity, but plastic slides are safer for younger learners). Personally, I avoid coverslips until learners are at least high-school age (if not college), but if you trust your learner with practically invisible shards of glass, that's your call. High-quality stains and fixatives do exist, and someday your learner may want to explore that world, but for this class, we will use clear nail polish to fix slides. For maximum benefit from this class, students should have access to a microscope, analog or digital, but even if a student doesn't have their own 'scope, this class will be interesting and useful. That said, in a perfect world, your learner has (1) a microscope, (2) slides, (3) clear nail polish, and (4) something worth looking at, whether it's a plant part, hair, bug, or whatever strikes their interest.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
No assessment is provided, but a successful student who enjoys the class will want to use their microscope to explore the world around them.  If I do my job properly, your learner will want to share information about microscopes with you, and may even want to start a microscopy journal to record their investigations. 
55 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
I share slides made of various tissues and organs, which means a (non-human) animal had to die to make these slides.  I share a story about my mother pricking her finger to make my first blood smear slide.  

A good slide is made of glass, and coverslips are some of the thinnest, sharpest glass I know of - we will make slides using a 2nd slide as a cover, to avoid the use of coverslips completely.  (This is the same approach I use in secondary science classrooms.)  You know your learner best - if you think they need supervision to use glass slides, please join us in class.  If you prefer, plastic slides do exist, although the visual detail may not be so great.  

Microscopes can vary wildly in value and expense, ranging from easily-broken plastic toys to delicate laboratory machinery.  Again, supervise as you think necessary.  When I was young, I was able to use my microscope by myself, but needed an adult to help me pick up and move the 'scope whenever necessary.  Please err on the side of safety.  

Students are free to take this class even if they don't have their own 'scope, but the enthusiastic learner will want their own 'scope for further exploration. 
I have a set of National Geographic Biology Slides, and a similar set provided by AmScope, that I use in this course.  Professionally-made slides are commercially available, and are highly recommended for any budding microscopist. 


Melinda Dooley
Lives in the United States
Enthusiastic Biologist
86 total reviews
135 completed classes

About Me

Howdy do!  

My name is Melinda K. Dooley, and Biology is the love of my life--right up there with teaching life science to someone else!  I have been tinkering with biology since I was a child, formalizing my studies as I got older, but I've... 
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