Science with Secondo is still in the observational stage; for a nearly-nine-year-old we are content with simply building models and running simple experiments for that “gee whiz!” factor. And this is as it should be, since we want to ensnare their curiosity.
The current course of study is Biology. Naturally, we reached the curriculum on blood, so any opportunity to build something with candy is always a hit. Nothing quite like a corn syrup, lentil, cannellini bean, and Red-Hots model 😉
But what is really being learned? Certainly, Secondo was excited to show me his model, but the excitement wanes quickly and we begin to realize that the pictures in the books and the models don’t quite drive home the concepts.
Serendipity to the rescue!
While pruning an acacia in the back yard, a thorn pricked my finger. Opportunity does not get wasted here! We pulled out the microscope, placed a drop of blood on a slide, covered it and Secondo was mesmerized. We used a binocular AmScope with the 10x eye-piece and the 100x oil emersion lens, and even without staining the sample the results were amazing.
But the best part was when Secondo identified a white blood cell (with barely, but visible nucleus) moving between the red cells; he spent the next hour just looking, moving the stage around to find more. And, that is what we are seeking in education!
Next time, Secondo wants to take pictures and video…
I guess I could give a little more blood to the cause.
Good luck with your science adventures!
Side Note On Microscopes
Every home educator should have (at least) one! But, don’t buy a toy for your students.
While many of the catalogs we receive in the mail have microscopes “for kids” and the $30 to $50 price tag seems tempting… don’t. The optics will disappoint.
Spending around $200 you can find several scopes with quality optics (monocular or binocular), mechanical stages, and even fluorescent or LED lighting (incandescent gets hot!). It is actually a small investment that will last through your children’s education as there are always opportunity to delve into the very small.
My current favorite is the binocular AmScope. The optics are clear, and the additional oil immersion lens give opportunity to see some really amazing details.
Again, good luck!