Through the Microscope

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Through the Microscope
Science Course
Course CodeSCOP
Year Opened2001
Sites OfferedALE, GIL, LAJ, NUE, SAN, WLA
Previously OfferedNRS, NUE, STP, WIN
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2001):

Since the first microscope was created in the 16th century, scientists have been pushing back the frontiers of the microscopic world. The very idea that living things are made of cells arose when Robert Hooke studied a thin slice of cork under the microscope in 1665. Students in this class take a new look at their world through microscopy, and in doing so acquire an introduction to science.

This course begins with the history of microscopy and an overview of how microscopes work. Students study individual cells of the human body and compare them to living one-celled organisms. Field trips to streams and fields provide an endless source of creatures to collect and observe. The microscope also gives students a new appreciation for the intricacies of familiar things, such as a feather, a human hair, or a blade of grass.

Students learn about the atom and answer the question of why we can’t see atoms with microscopes. Additionally, they grow salt crystals in class as an introduction to molecules. Measuring through the lens allows students to appreciate the relative sizes of tiny objects, from millimeters to angstroms. Finally, students use the microscope to answer questions about how tiny things work, including computer chips, velcro, and wristwatch gears.