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Digital microscopy; teaching students biology their way

Written by Ben Newsome on March 22nd, 2013.      0 comments

digital microscopy
Digital microscope used in teaching biology via incursion

Kids these days really love meshing digital media into nearly everything they do. Why not go with the trend and present biological science with portable laptops and digital microscopes? This week I was at a school running a station-based a microscopy lesson whereby students rotated through microscopes, field microscopes, magnifiers and digital microscopes. The focus was on biological drawing as well as different magnification levels achieved with the different devices. It was interesting to see how the primary students responded; some were engrossed with creating a well-labelled drawing whilst others simply wanted to investigate anything they could put their hands upon! Throughout the lesson the students could collect their own specimens outside, create specimen slides, take photos of their work for use in a school newsletter plus they had to write up their findings in small groups.

On speaking with the teacher she noted that some of the kids often seen as ‘difficult’ were completely engaged, clearly demonstrating that the lesson hit a chord. So what does that mean for teaching in the science classroom? It’s the usual suspect; keep it relevant and real and the students will join you with enthusiasm. Try mixing it up station work so that the each station has a different output.  Also give the students a scaffold that grants them latitude to act independently on an investigation; within boundaries of course!

On that note; lets have some fun with this blog. Below are series of digital microscope images. Can you identify what they are? Have fun!
What do you think this 150x magnification digital microscope image might be?


Give your best answer (or guess) below! Is it a…

a. Denim press stud
b. Ring pull of a can
c. Part of a zipper
d. Metallic button
Can anyone identify this 150x digital microscope image?


Multiple choice, or guess :), below!

a. Is it a grasshopper wing?
b. Is it bubble wrap?
c. Is it a leaf cross section?
d. Is it a bone fragment?
Can anyone identify this 150x digital microscope image?


Multiple choice, or guess :), below!
a. Is it a belly button?
b. Is it the end of a balloon?
c. Is it part of a flower?
d. Is it the inside of a dishwashing glove?
Can anyone identify this 150x digital microscope image?


Multiple choice, or guess :), below!
a. Is it a close-up of a blue tarpaulin?
b. Is it a cotton shirt?
c. Is it a nylon stocking?
d. Is it a photo on a newspaper?
Can anyone identify this 150x digital microscope image?


Multiple choice, or guess :), below!
a. Is it a close-up of a razor?
b. Is it the bottom of a frypan?
c. Is it the edge of a fish scale?
d. Is it a close-up of an LP record?

Can anyone identify this 150x digital microscope image?


Multiple choice, or guess :), below!
a. Is it a close up of crystallized salt?
b. Is it an ant tunnel?
c. Is it a piece of bread?
d. Is it leftover freezer ice?

All the best!


Ben Newsome
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Teaching Topics: biology , edchat, education, STEM, teaching


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