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microscope
microscope set
types of algae
string of beads
water surfaces
greenish color
moist areas
cell walls
Algae Under A Microscope
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Algae Under A Microscope

One of the easiest items to use with a kids microscope set experiment is algae under a microscope. Algae is a great experiment sample and is relatively easy ( and free ) to get hold of. Algae can be found on pond water surfaces and around rock formations in moist areas. It's quite easy to spot - it's a slimy green or yellow-green substance.

You can use algae under a microscope with most kids products but a kids high powered compound microscope is my preferred choice. Algae under a microscope looks like a ladies string of beads in a greenish color. Point out these 'beads' to the child/student and explain that these are in fact microscopic cells.

Once the kids examine these microscopic cells they will be excited to proceed and see them in more detail. This will be the next step - use the microscope to zoom in on one of the microscopic cells. Under closer examination of the cell algae under a microscope will look filled with liquid. Explain to the child/student that this 'liquid' is called Cytoplasm and it has a pretty cool function. Cytoplasm is responsible for the construction of cell walls and chemical reactions within the cell.

The children will be drawn to the nucleus of the microscopic cell. If the nucleus is not visible through the algae under a microscope then simply add a drip of acetic acid to the microscope sample and wait for five minutes. This will result in nucleus turning into a cool red color.

Once the demonstration of the nucleus has been completed and the children have had their fun with that it's time to turn your attention back to the cytoplasm. Draw the kids attention to the green, globular forms inside of the cytoplasm. Explain to the children that these forms are called chloroplasts and they are used to convert the algae's food. Chloroplasts convert the food with the use of sunlight.

There are three main types of algae under a microscope that I know of - Spirogya, Oscillatora and Vaucheria. There are other types out there but these are the three I, myself am familiar with. A simple search online will outline the other possible breeds of algae that are effective under a microscope.

As with all science experiments with kids, algae under a microscope will need the involvement of a parent or supervisor. There is plenty of glass involved in the use and make-up of a microscope so keep your eyes peeled. Kids get excited with all new things and a simple argument over a microscope can spell a ruined afternoon.


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