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3 Simple ‘Get-To-Know’ Your Microscope Experiments

3 Simple ‘Get-To-Know’ Your Microscope Experiments

These microscope experiments are easy for any laboratory and give an in-depth understanding of the subject matter and how a microscope works.


1 – Pond Water Habitats

If you have access to a pond, this is the perfect experiment for you. Begin by collecting some samples of pond water. It is best to collect a few different ones, either from different ponds or from various areas around the pond. On a clean microscopic slide, stick a few layers of tape onto one side. Score out a one centimetre square from the middle of the tape to create a chamber. By doing this, you will prevent any microorganisms in the sample from being crushed between slides.

Place one drop of pond water from one sample in the chamber you just created and cover it with the other slide. Use the microscope to view the sample and record your observations. Try out several different power settings and see the differences. After you have recorded your findings, you can prepare a new chambered slide for the next sample. After observing all your samples, compare the results and see what differences you can find.


2 – How Feathers Fly

For this experiment, all you need is a feather from a bird and a compoupe. Start by cutting a small section of the feather, including a bit of the central stem. Get a clean slide and place this feather section onto it, and tape down the edges to secure it in place. It is best to use a dry mount for this experiment as a wet mount will not provide a clear image.

Begin looking at the feather using a 25% magnification. You will see that the branches which are attached to the main stem of the feather have their own little branches coming from them. Magnify even further and you will notice that these tiny branches are overlapping the ones on the adjacent barbs. This mesh effect prevents a large amount of air from passing through, allowing feathers to contain the air needed for flight.


3 – Blooming Yoghurt Bacteria

Use a plain yoghurt that contains active cultures for this microscope experiment. Put a very small amount of the yoghurt in the centre of a clean slide. Put one drop of distilled water on the yoghurt and then cover it with the coverslip. Use the microscope on a low power and identify an area in the sample where the yoghurt is spread thinly. Put the microscope up to a high power and take a close look at the bacteria in the yoghurt. Record your observations. After this, put the container somewhere warm and dark for 24 hours. Repeat the viewing process again and observe the new bacteria which has grown in the sample. Compare the results from the two days.


How To Prepare A Microscope Slide?

To use a microscope, you need to prepare microscope slides. They are typically made from plastic or glass and are about 1mm in thickness. There are various types of slides that can be used with a microscope, including flat slides, concave slides, and etched slides. The majority of experiments can be completed with a flat microscope slide. There are also items called coverslips, which sit on top of a slide and hold the sample in place.

When it comes to preparing a microscope slide, there are two main techniques:

  • Dry Mount: This is the simplest option for preparing a microscope slide. All you need to do is make sure your slide is completely clean and place a thin sample in the centre. Cover with the coverslip and observe in your microscope.
  • Wet Mount: These are used for wet samples, natural observations, or living organisms. For a wet mount, you need to place a drop of liquid in the centre of a clean slide, and position your sample on the liquid using a pair of tweezers. Carefully position the coverslip at an angle and slowly lower it, to cover the liquid without any air bubbles. Clean any excess fluid with a paper towel and observe.