Many organisms (such as bacteria) and parts of organisms (cells and organelles) that biologists study are too small to be seen with the human eye. We use microscopes to enlarge specimens for our investigation. The word microscope means “to see small” and the first primitive microscope was created in 1595. The High School biology classes used microscopes that could magnify up to 100x and looked at small multicellular and unicellular organisms in pond water as the closing lab for quarter one.
We have been studying Eukaryotic (having a nucleus) cells and Prokaryotic (no nucleus) cells as part of our unit on the basic structure of life. By using microscopes, students were able to see both types of organisms in the same place at the same time. They were required to identify the organisms from a chart, draw and describe them and then identify if they were prokaryotic or eukaryotic, using their drawings and descriptions as evidence.