Setting Up a Microscope Lab
Before you begin to explore the powers of magnification and the new worlds these powers reveal, it is important to take the time to set up your microscope lab. Having everything you need to do your work in one place means that you'll spend less time looking for supplies and more time exploring.
Set up your microscope lab in a quiet corner of a room. You'll need a sturdy table and lots of light. Listed below are some items you may want to stock your lab with.
Tools & Materials
- cover slips
- eye dropper
- desk lamp
- water bottle
- knife blade
- camel hair paint brush - available at art supply stores
- lint-free cloth (such as part of an old cotton T-shirt)
- food coloring
- iodine - available at pharmacies (Use only with adult supervision!)
- malachite green (ick fish cure) - available at aquarium shops (Use only with adult supervision!)
- methylene blue - available at aquarium shops (Use only with adult supervision!)
Scientists use the word 'sample' to describe an object that is being observed under a microscope. A sample can be anything from an insect to a drop of pond water or a piece of fabric. A sample can be the whole object or just part of the object. For example, both an entire leaf and just the stem are considered samples.
When you collect samples from outdoors, remember to choose carefully. Nature has a delicate balance, and can be easily damaged. Take only the smallest quantity that you need and be selective in how you choose. If you are looking for a leaf sample, whenever possible take a leaf that has already fallen to the ground rather than one that is still on the tree. Notice how much of a sample is available. If you see only one sample of a particular plant, leave it behind to reproduce so perhaps next time you'll see more. And finally, when observing insects, try to find samples that are already dead.
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