Rotifers

October 7, 2013

Two students working on their campus ecology project were using the compound microscope to look at microbes associated with the leaf matter from the creek, and they found these two rotifers.

Rotifers under the microscope.

Rotifers under the microscope.

The one on the left was trying to suck in the two green protists, which generated a current that sent the protists into a circular loop.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Rotifers, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Grasshopper

September 24, 2013

Grasshopper under the microscope. (10x magnification).

Grasshopper under the microscope. (10x magnification).

I caught a grasshopper in the bushes this morning. They’re a bit of a pest at Heifer so I didn’t feel too badly about bringing it in to inspect under the microscope.

The students found it to be curious as well. So much so, that one decided — of her own volition — to diagram it as well; including one of the small fecal pellets our grasshopper had graciously deposited into its petri dish.

Exploratory diagram of a grasshopper (by E.H.).

Exploratory diagram of a grasshopper (by E.H.).

When we get back, I’ll point out Cmassingale’s nice grasshopper dissection page. It’s a pretty decent reference for gross anatomy.

Students studying a grasshopper under the microscope.

Studying a grasshopper under the microscope.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Grasshopper, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

A Projecting Microscope

September 9, 2013

A fly's wing seen using the projecting microscope.

Using the projecting microscope.

A parent (thanks Dr. E) found this old projecting microscope at a microscope store in town. The optics are arranged upside-down relative to normal: the light is at the top and the objective lenses are upside-down and below the slide. The light coming through the objective is reflected onto the screen using a simple mirror.

It needs a dark room to see some of the more detailed, lightly stained. However, higher-contrast slides show up reasonable well in our classroom, despite its large, unblocked windows.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. A Projecting Microscope, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Eyes of the Spider

September 6, 2013

Close up of spider.

Close up of spider.

I’m taking a small group of kids hiking/cross-country running for Physical Education this quarter. With the heat wave of last week, and having to clear the trail up the hillslope, today was the first day we actually got all the way to the top of the ridge. On our way back down, one of my students had stopped to look at a frond of tiny, pretty flowers when she spotted this beautiful, yellow spider with its brilliantly, iridescent catch. We brought them back to the lab to look at it under the microscope. It’ll also be interesting to observe what the spider does with the fly.

The eyes of the spider.

The eyes of the spider.

A spider with its rather large catch.

A spider with its rather large catch.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. The Eyes of the Spider, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Dill Flowers

July 29, 2013

Dill flowers are pretty enough in real life, but look really interesting under the microscope as well. So I put a few pictures from my time with the Leica DSM1000b into the online microscope:

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Dill Flowers, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Constructing a Wooden Slide Tray

July 17, 2013

Handmade, 25 slot slide tray.

Handmade, 25 slot slide tray.

To have somewhere to store the slides I’ve been making, I needed a slide storage box. They’re pretty cheap, but they’re also pretty simple to put together with stuff I could, mostly, find around the house: some scrap wood (from an small wooden CD holder tray that I’m not using any more); a small sheet of clear acrylic (from the hardware store); a short piece of sticky-backed, rubber foam for insulating windows (to keep the slides pressed into place so they don’t move in the box); and some craft glue (ModPodge). For tools, all I used were a few clamps and the saw on a pocket tool.

Using the pocket saw was the biggest pain because I had to cut little slots into the wooden frame to hold the slides. Twenty five slides meant 50 slots, and although the wood was soft, the width of the blade was almost exactly the width of a slide, so if the slot was not perfectly vertical the slides would not fit properly and I’d have to carefully saw it a little bigger. The clamps were a big help with the sawing.

The base of the slide tray was put together with scrap wood and the saw on the pocket tool.

The base of the slide tray was put together with scrap wood and the saw on the pocket tool.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Constructing a Wooden Slide Tray, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Stomata of a Basil Leaf

July 8, 2013

It’s not always easy to see stomata, the pores on the surfaces of leaves that allow plants to breathe. I tried the leaves of pepper and tomato plants with a dissecting microscope to no avail. However, compared to these, the stomata on basil leaves were enormous. They were actually visible on the lowest magnification (6x), but the higher magnification is necessary to make out the detail.

For these pictures, I was lucky enough to have gotten to try out one of Leica’s research grade, digital microscopes (the DMS1000b). Given that I only had a hour or so, I did not take the time to experiment with all the optimization options, however, the pictures turned out remarkably well, none-the-less. In particular, you might note the highest magnification images, labeled 48(d)x, are just digital enlargements from the 48x magnification pictures.

Having the built in camera makes it an awful lot easier to put images into the online microscope app, and I suspect will make focus stacking a lot easier as well. Since this scope is a bit out of the range of my small high-school budget, I really need to figure out a good, solid way of mounting my point-and-shoot cameras on the microscopes I have.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Stomata of a Basil Leaf, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

An Online Microscope

July 5, 2013

Now that I have a new set of microscopes I didn’t think I would actually need to have an online, simulated microscope to show samples. However, I thought having a series of picture that I could scroll through would be useful to illustrate microscopy concepts such as depth-of-field when I talk about them to the whole class. Once I’d created the depth-of-field simulation, I figured it would not be too much extra trouble to put in a few different magnification levels. Now I have this embeddable online microscope simulator.

It’s started off with a single fly wing as a sample, but I’ll be adding to it as I take more pictures.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. An Online Microscope, Retrieved November 21st, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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