Halloween is around the corner and seventh graders in Jessica Loprieno’s science class are in full preparation mode: they have been learning how to use microscopes for the first time and have been observing Halloween-themed specimens, such as frogs’ blood, cockroach heads and insect wings.
“We do this lesson around Halloween each year,” explained Ms. Loprieno. “The students have been introduced to the parts of the microscope and “tips and tricks” for microscope technique via screencasts that I created and virtual labs leading up to this point,” she added.
At first, Ms. Loprieno said, some students were “grossed out,” but eventually they ended up liking the lab.
“Once the lab was underway they thought it was very cool and made some wonderful sketches of their observations. This lab is part of our unit on cells and it helps introduce students to microscope skills that they will need for future labs,” she added.
Seeing the specimen from up close was certainly a new experience that the students found interesting.
“They were fascinated with the details that they could see on our specimens! One student said that the cockroach head looked like an alien and another student thought it was so cool that he could see the nucleus inside of a frog blood cell,” said Ms. Loprieno.
Extra safety precautions are being taken since the students are sharing the microscopes with other classes.
“The Microscopes get sanitized twice between lessons. Each student receives a fresh disinfectant wipe at the end of the lesson and is instructed to wipe it down entirely. Then at the start of the next lesson each student does the same, so that they can feel confident that their equipment is clean before use,” Ms. Loprieno explained.