Kids have curious minds and love to observe the world around them. When students walk into their science classroom and see microscopes out, they get really excited. They get to play with real science equipment and observe the tiniest parts of the world around them.
Learning about cells is the perfect opportunity to let your students use microscopes. Depending on the age and ability of your students, you may want to modify how your students use the microscopes. In fifth grade, I like to give each table a microscope set up with a prepared slide. I give step by step instructions for how to adjust make adjustments and focus. In addition to the verbal instructions, I have a digital microscope set up to show my students on the projector screen what they should be able to see in their microscope. This also gives me their interest and attention when I explain the parts of the plant cell we are observing.
Check out the slide show below to see what the onion cells look like under the microscope.
Using the microscope to see what a plant or animal cell looks like is a great hands on experience for your kids. Its a good idea to provide your students with a variety of ways to learn about cells. The Cell Structure and Function Science and Literacy Lesson Set has a variety of learning activities for your students including an informational text with graphic organizer and summary writing. It also has an observation sheet for the onion cell lab and instructions for lab prep.
Have fun and explore the world around you!