Friday, May 3, 2013

7th Grade Science
                  Over the past several weeks, our 7th grade science students have become experts at using the compound light microscope.  They can adjust the stage using the course and fine tuning knobs to focus on just about any object, from 40X magnification all the way up to 400X magnification.  Their level of skill on the microscope now is truly impressive!  However, what has impressed me more is the way students have discovered, on their own, how to harness the power of their iPads to enhance their experience with the microscopes.
                  They have figured out how to use their iPad cameras to capture pictures and even videos of the specimens we’ve been examining using the microscopes!  It does take a steady hand to hold the small iPad camera in the eyepiece of the microscope to get the perfect picture, but that challenge definitely has not held back the students.  They have taken pictures of their own cheek cells, stomates on plant leaves, microorganisms from a local pond, radish roots, xylem and phloem from a celery stem, and even themselves hard at work!  They have taken videos of paramecium swimming around on a slide, water fleas, planaria worms, and brine shrimp!
Once they figured out the cool pictures they could take, most students wanted to take a picture of everything they were seeing.  When they get a good picture, they are so excited to show me and their classmates!  From there, students are able to share those pictures with me and each other through email.  It’s nice to hear a student say, “Great picture!  Email that one to me.”  On top of that, they can insert the pictures into our lab worksheets on the iPad, label them, and use them to answer questions about the labs.  The power the iPad gives the students, each with their own camera to document their lab work, has really brought a new excitement to our 7th grade science lab activities!  ~Ben Kulbartz