Looking at Pond Water under a Student Microscope
You may not know it, but there is a lot more life that thrives in pond waters than just the fish and plants that you see. If we look at the water, scooped up from ponds or spring pools, using a scientific student microscope, we will see lots of living microscopic activity that we never thought of. This microscope activity can be done by teachers and students alike. Kids and children can also do this at home with their parents for an exciting educational activity.
The materials that are needed aside from the student high power compound light microscope are a clean bottle or jar and a medicine dropper. The next thing needed to be done is to look for a pond or maybe a spring pools. If that canít be found, maybe look for rainwater that has been sitting for a long time and has breeded a host of microscopic animals.
Using the empty jar or bottle, scoop up an amount of water from the pond. Include dead leaves or some mud into the container as it is most likely in these places that the microscopic organisms hide. If you look carefully at the water you got, you can already see some of them swimming about. Just put the bottle or jar against the light and those dots that you see are those microscopic organisms that we will get to look closely at under educational student microscopes.
To see what these tiny organisms really look like, we have to put them under a high power compound light microscope. First, the water has to be transferred from the bottle to the microscope slide. The dipping tube is used for this but we can also use the medicine dropper that we have at hand. A drop or two from of the water from the pond is enough.
Looking at theses pond water organisms under the low power stereo dissecting microscope, you can see that they look like little lobsters. In fact, they are also related to shrimps and crabs and are grouped together under the family of Crustacea. Crustacea comes from the Latin word crusta, which means skin. These microscopic lobster-like organisms found in pond waters all have hard outer shell covering called an exoskeleton.
One fun activity that can be done while observing these microscopic organisms is to locate its solitary eye. It can be seen as a dark spot if you look carefully at the head. Another microscopic activity that can be done using the student compound light microscope is to find out whether what you are looking at is a female. The females of these microscopic organisms found at ponds carry eggs with them. In order to find these eggs, you only have to look for the balloons that hung at both side of the organismís abdomen. With these microscopic eggs, you can also have the chance to take a look at these microscopic organismsí babies. If you managed to keep them alive and wait until the eggs hatch.
Looking at the young tiny organisms under the compound microscope is a whole experience. For instance, they look totally different from their mothers. These babies undergo a lot of changes before they can actually look like their parent.You can also produce your own colony of microscopic organisms at home. You only need a clear jar or bottle, dried twigs or leaves and a place where there is direct sunlight. First, you have to boil the water so that it will kill whatever organism that lives there. Half-fill the jar with the boiled water. Put in the dried leaves or twigs but be sure not put too much. Do not seal the container because the microscopic organisms will need the air. Leave it in a dark and warm place. After a few days or weeks, you can sample a drop of water from it under a compound student microscope and you will see that you have created your own colony of microorganisms. If you want to have more variety, then place your jar under the sunlight.
This simple microscope experiment can be a fun as well as educational microscope activity for student kids or children. The low power student dissecting microscopes (called a stereoscope) can be used for viewing the larger animals, especially those swimming around fast. The high power student compound light microscopes are used for viewing the smallest biological specimens and animals.