Microscope Unit Essays

Students wrote essays about their experiences using the microscopes.  In their essays they were asked to address the following:
  • What did you learn?
  • How do you know that you learned it?
  • What got in the way of your learning?
  • What helped your learning?
  • What are your final impressions of the microscope unit?
  • What grade would you give the microscope unit on a scale of 1-4?  Why?
  • What suggestions do you have for the future?
Below are some examples of student essays.  

Student 1:
    In our recent microscope unit in Science class, I learned many things.  I learned that microscopes really zoom in on the object that you are studying.  I also learned how to draw many different zoomed in objects, such as plants, animal parts, and even an old banana!  I know that I've learned it because I am now able to sketch many different objects under the microscope.  There were a couple of things that got in the way, though, such as trying to find the right place to look at an object through the blue [400x] scope.  But with the yellow [100x] and red [40x] scopes, this was easier!
    I thought that the microscope unit was entirely helpful to my learning and it was probably my favorite unit of the whole year.  I found it very interesting to be able to see all of the slides up close and to see all of the cool features.  If I had to rate this project on a scale of 1-4, I would give it a 4 because of how much I learned, how helpful it was, and how cool the slides were up close.  There is one suggestion that I have, though.  That suggestion is that we have a bit more time with the scopes in total.
    I really enjoyed this unit and thought that it was great fun.  I am glad that we even got to do this unit.  I am really hoping that sometime in the future I am able to do something like this again!

Student 2: 
    During the time that we had the microscopes I learned many things.  I learned about how to make a slide, how to properly look at a slide, and I learned about all of the different things that I looked at.  I know that my knowledge of science has been advanced because I can now look at new things and understand what I am looking at.  For example, when I looked at a bug I could tell what its different body parts were.  I a think that by being able to use these microscopes this will help my understanding in the future.
    I really liked this microscope unit.  It was really fun and educational.  It also helped me learn how to work in a group better.  You had to share the microscope and help each other when we were having difficulties.  It was also very interesting to look at all of the different slides up close.  I could see things under the microscope that I didn't even know were there.  For example, when I looked at a human hair I noticed that it seemed to be made up of three different parts.  I had always assumed that it would just be one long string of hair.  
    This project was a great learning tool and it helped me learn about things in a new and exciting way.  I was also able to develop skills I couldn't have gotten from a textbook.  It was amazing getting to work with the microscopes and I hope that other kids at GVS get to have the same experience in the future.

Student 3: 
    The microscopes were a great tool because I learned something, like one flower stem is so complex it made you think that the world is even more special than you have ever imagined.  I learned how to make slides and use a microscope properly.  I also learned how to focus a microscope, which was hard at first.  I know that I learned this because when I was looking at algae it was very hard to focus when you put the microscope at 400 magnification, but I finally focused it.
    What helped me to learn is that the microscope unit was a hands-on activity and it made me feel like a scientist.  I feel like I learn better with hands-on activities because you know when something is wrong or right.  If I could rate this unit from one to four, I would give it a four because you could notice the hidden details in ordinary plants and animals.  My final impressions of this unit are that it was really fun, but that I wish that we could have the microscopes for two months instead of two weeks.

Student 4:
Scope Eyes
    In the microscope unit we learned that ordinary small objects seem boring, but up close we see that they make up an entirely different world.  For example, the algae just looks like a vine to the naked eye, but with scope eyes it was everything but ordinary.
     The only problem with the scopes was if you had long eyelashes or if you had dust in your eyes.  Even if you had glasses you had to change the vision if your partner did not have glasses.  Sometimes slides were so dense (like the butterfly wing) that you had to have a stronger microscope to see through it.  But a good thing was that now we can imagine what the world really looks like, since we can see it with scope eyes.
    This unit was one of the most extraordinary of all of our units this year and it changed my image of the world.  I would give this unit a 4+, I believe that everyone enjoyed this unit and got to experience new things.  I would do this in the future so that everyone has the opportunity to see our beautiful world through scope eyes.