BIOLOGY Microscopy Lab 1
Cells are the basic unit of structure and function in all living things. As part of this unit, we
will be doing extensive microscope work. We will also be using microslide viewers. Used
together, these tools will help you to understand and visualize cells, their parts, and functions.
Your task is to accurately draw pictures (include a title, the magnification for microscope
pictures and a box or circle) and write a figure legend for each of the following. Your figure
drawings should be made such that there are two on each side of a plain piece of paper and the
pages can be made into a booklet. Plan it such that you have a front page with a title (My Cell
Book, for example) and matching pictures are side-by-side.
General microscope use instructions:
Always transport a microscope with
two hands, one on the arm and the
other under the base.
To begin focusing, have the
microscope on lowest power and the
stage as far as possible from the
Place the slide on the stage and use
the stage clips to hold it in place.
Make sure your specimen is
Using the coarse focus knob and
watching for the side, move your
objective lens as close as possible to
Then looking through the eyepiece,
move the stage and objective apart
until the specimen is in focus.
Only then may you change to a
Focus again using the fine focus
Then you may change to a higher
When you are not at the lowest magnification, you must only focus using the fine focus
Slide Preparation Cheek Cells Onion Cells
1. Microslide viewer cheek-lining cell (set 102/1)—Label the nucleus, cytoplasm and cell
membrane. In your legend include information about the shape of these cells and how this
enhances their function.
2. Your Cheek-lining cell—To make this slide, place a small drop of water in the center of a
clean slide. Add a small drop of methylene blue dye. With a clean, flat toothpick, gently
scrape the inside lining of your mouth. Stir this into the water/dye and mix well. Cover with a
coverslip. Remove any excess fluid from the outside of the coverslip before you place the
slide on the microscope. Label the nucleus, cytoplasm and cell membrane. In your legend
include information comparing and contrasting your cells and those you saw in the microslide
3. Microslide viewer onion-skin cells (set 102/2)—Label the nucleus, cytoplasm, cell
membrane and cell wall. In your legend include information about how these plant cells
compare to animal cells (cheek-lining cells)—what is the same and what is different?
4. Onion-skin cells—to make this slide, place a small drop of iodine on the center of a clean
slide. Peel a small piece of onion from the inside of an onion section. Place the piece of onion
in the drop of iodine, spread out as much as possible. Cover with a coverslip. Label the
nucleus, cytoplasm, cell membrane and cell wall. In your legend include information regarding
the shape of these cells and why you added iodine.
5. Elodea leaf—To make this slide, place a small drop of
water on a clean slide and place a single Elodea leaf in the
middle. Cover with a coverslip. Label the cell wall, cell
membrane and chloroplast. Be sure to note the color of
the cell organelles. Put the slide under a light source for 5
minutes. Look at the slide again. Do you see anything
moving? Include that information in the legend as well as
information about how the Elodea cells differ from the onion cells.
6. Elodea leaf in 5% salt water—To make this slide, place a small drop of 5% salt water solution
on a clean slide, add your Elodea leaf and coverslip. Wait a few minutes, and then look at the
leaf. Label the cell parts you see. In your legend describe what you see—how is it different
from the previous slide? Why is this occurring? (Think of concentration gradients here.) Use
content-embedded vocabulary in your explanation.
7. Pond Water—For this slide, take a drop of pond water and place it on your slide. Add a
coverslip. Search the pond water for anything that moves—some things move more slowly
than others so watch carefully! Draw what you see.
Volvox Euglena Vorticella Amoeba
Stentor Paramecium Spyrogyra Rotifer