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Demystifying Microscopes

Workshop Spotlight | July 7, 2016

Microscopes have become an essential tool for research in every branch of science, as well as a powerful tool for science education. As microscopes become more commonplace in middle and high schools, understanding how to optimally use them becomes a necessary skill for STEM educators. In the three-session course, “Demystifying Microscopes,” MƒA teachers explored the secrets of microscopy by taking advantage of the state-of-the-art microscopes at the BioBase at the Lower East Side Girls Club in Manhattan.

Led by BioBase Microscopy Expert Francesca Anselmi and BioBase Chief Scientist Sarah Weisberg, the mini-course offered MƒA teachers the opportunity to investigate how different types of instruments – stereo, phase contrast, fluorescence and DIC microscopes – can be used to visualize different types of samples. By examining various parts of microscopes, MƒA teachers discovered how to set up, optimize, and “hack” a microscope to obtain its best performance – and they even built their very own microscopes from scratch.

MƒA Early Career Teacher Ronnie Almonte (pictured on the right), a workshop attendee, spoke about how the course related to his own teaching: “The course helped me think about ways to make my classroom more interdisciplinary,” he said. “I think of myself as a teacher of all sciences, not just one subject (biology); the course has helped me explore ways to bring physics into biology through microscopy.” 

“Demystifying Microscopes” is just one of the many courses we offer through our collaborations with outside STEM education organizations. By offering a mix of courses led by both teachers and other outside content experts, we provide MƒA teachers with opportunities to tailor their own professional growth experiences within MƒA.