Microscope Memory

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SWBAT identify and explain the structures and functions of the compound light microscope.

Big Idea

So how do you use this thing? Unlock the mysteries of the unseen world by teaching your students how to use their microscope!

Video Introduction: The Importance of Tools

1 minutes

Why is this lesson critical to our Biology class?  This video clip explains the importance of reviewing the structures and functions of the compound light microscope.

Hook - Viewing The Unseen

5 minutes

Have you ever wondered what is occurring at the microscopic level right before your very eyes?  Students will have an opportunity to watch the video clip and hypothesize the use of these common everyday objects before the true identities are revealed!  Think fast because these beautiful images will be named on the video very quick and you will never look at the world same again.  The beauty around us is just waiting to be discovered . . . . 

A whole-class discussion will serve as a follow-up to the video clip.  The teacher will guide the discussion to emphasize the size differential both large and small of objects that are commonly studied in our Biology class.

Direct Instruction - How Do You Use This Thing?

20 minutes

Now that your students are captivated by the microscopy through the viewing of the video clip, they will have the opportunity to learn how to use the compound light microscope.  

Students will get out a sheet of paper and title it, "Lecture Notes: An Introduction to the Microscope".  The Lecture Notes will introduce your students to the structures and functions of the compound light microscope, as well as step-by-step instructions on proper use of the microscope.   This information will enable your students to unlock the magical world of microscopy through future laboratory investigations.

Each student will also be given a copy of the  Microscope Rules Handout to keep throughout the year to use as a reference to ensure that proper microscope protocols are followed by all students.

Guided Practice - Microscope Memory

25 minutes

Students will use the pre-cut Activity Cards to engage in a favorite childhood game - Memory.  Students will get into groups of three to five students and get out a sheet of paper to record the structures and corresponding functions of the compound light microscope.  Each student group will receive an envelope with all of the necessary "playing" cards for the Memory game.

Setting Up The Game: Students will turn all of the provided cards upside down and mix up to make sure the matching pairs are not next to one another.

How To Play: Students will take turns trying to match the structure card (a part of the microscope) with a function card (describes what the part does).  Once any of the group members creates a match that all of the group members agree is the correct pairing of the structure and function, the entire group will record the structure and function statements onto their paper.  Student groups will repeat this process until all of the matches have been paired up.

Learning Benefit: At the conclusion of the activity, each student will have created a study guide for a possible quiz on the compound light microscope or for use on a microscopy lab.  Students seem so wrapped up in playing a "biology" rendition of one of their favorite childhood games that they forget that they are busy learning!

Close - Identifying The Structures

5 minutes

As a final review, the teacher will project the Microscope Diagram Slide from the Lecture Notes to provide a visual reference for the students during the final review of today's lesson.  

  • The teacher will call out a number and the neighbor pairs will turn to each other and verbally identify the structure that corresponds with the number.  
  • Student partners will take turns with the student who has the nearest birthday to today providing the identity of the microscope's structure and the student who has the farthest birthday from today will be asked to describe the function of the numbered structure.  
  • If there is time, the student-pairs will record the correct structure and function description to act as a study guide for a future quiz on the microscope.  

This strategy for identifying which partner goes first and then second is a fun way to organize student responses and make sure all students actively participate in the review session.  Students are excited to discuss their birthdays and it is a safe way to reveal something about themselves that is not too personal.

As the activity progresses, the teacher will popcorn around the microscope diagram to prevent students from predicting what the next question may be and rehearsing their answer.  

Students will complete the Microscope Review Worksheet as homework which will serve as a final opportunity to master the structures and functions of the compound light microscope.  In this review activity, students will identify the structures of the microscope, calculate total magnification, and respond to a few comprehension questions regarding microscope function.