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Science & Nature

Weekly Microscopy Club (Ages 10-13)

In this ongoing weekly club, young microscopists can share and socialize with others and talk about the microscopic world.
Melinda Dooley
79 total reviews for this teacher
2 reviews for this class
Completed by 5 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
55 minutes
per class
Once per week
every week
year olds
learners per class
per learner

How does anOngoingcourse work?

Meets on a weekly schedule, join any week, no need to catch up on previous material
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Automatic payment every Sunday, cancel any time
Great for clubs and for practicing skills

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Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
The goals of the one-time class are reinforced in this weekly club: safe microscope usage, making slides, recording what we see, and discussing it all.  
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. Keeping a journal to record one's explorations of the microscopic world is strongly encouraged.
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) that week's sample, if practical.  Students may be encouraged to cut a bit of their pet's fur, or catch a bug, or bring a leaf - the week's specimen will be announced via classroom post.  Sometimes, the specimen isn't practical (muscle or lung tissue, for example), so we'll focus on professionally-made slides and images available online.  

Students are encouraged to keep a journal for their microscopic studies, so crayons or colored pencils, pens, or markers will be useful, along with paper or a notebook.  
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
Assessment is informal: I may ask students to identify parts of their 'scope, or tell me how to make a slide, but no grades are given.  If I do my job properly, your learner will want to share information about microscopes with you, and will ideally 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 may 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
79 total reviews
123 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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