Activity Overview

Microscopes are an essential tool to use when studying cells. They allow us to see things that we wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye. In order to study cells in detail, it's important that students learn how to use a microscope. Before using microscopes in the classroom, they should understand the names and function of each part. In this activity, students will create a poster of a microscope with labeled parts. Students will identify and describe the microscope parts and functions. This is an awesome activity to complete at the beginning of either the school year or the unit on basic cells.

Parts of the Microscope

Eyepiece LensThe part of the microscope where you look through
ArmSupports the eyepiece lens and connects it to the base (also a handle for carrying)
Objective LensesThree or four lenses with a range of different magnifications
StageA platform which holds the slide for observation
SlideA thin piece of glass that holds the specimen
Focus WheelUsed to bring the object in and out of focus
LampProvides light to illuminate the specimen, sometimes a mirror is also used
BaseSupports the microscope

In addition to optical microscopes, you can also run an activity looking at electron microscopes, which allow scientists to see things that are much smaller and in much greater resolution than optical microscopes. As an extension of this parts of a microscope labeling activity, have your students create a narrative storyboard on how to correctly prepare and observe cells using a microscope.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

In order to carry out an investigation to show that living things are made of cells you need to be able to use a microscope. Knowing the names of the different parts of the microscope is essential to be able to use one properly. Create a poster that labels the parts of a microscope and includes descriptions of what each part does.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Use a landscape poster layout (large or small).
  3. Search for a diagram of a microscope.
  4. Using arrows and textables label each part of the microscope and describe its function.

Lesson Plan Reference


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Labeled diagram
Label the diagram giving the functions of each part.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
All the labels are correct.
Most of the labels are correct.
Some of the labels are correct.
All the functions are correct with no grammar or spelling mistakes.
Most of the functions are correct with some grammar and spelling mistakes.
Some of the functions are correct with many grammar and spelling mistakes.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

More Storyboard That Activities

Basic Cells

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