My new middle schooler has always been interested in science. She loves examining nature and conducting basic experiments. One thing we had yet to introduce her to, though, was the microscope.
When I took college biology last year, I had my very first experience with a light microscope and it was awesome. So I was excited to show her how to use it as well.
But I wasn’t quite sure how to teach her microscope basics. After all, my college textbook was a little too advanced. I still wanted her to have a chance to learn it without me hovering somewhere nearby.
Enter Real Science-4-Kids! This homeschool science program for grade 6 offers plenty of hands-on biology lessons and experiments!
Read on to see how we used Real Science-4-Kids to teach our child how to use a microscope in middle school!
Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for this post and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
What’s Included in the Real Science-4-Kids Grade 6 Curriculum?
Real Science-4-Kids offers its science program, Exploring the Building Blocks of Science, in several grades, including grade 6.
The Grade 6 program includes the following materials:
- Exploring the Building Blocks of Science: Book 6 Teacher’s Manual
- Exploring the Building Blocks of Science: Book 6 Student Textbook
- Exploring the Building Blocks of Science: Book 6 Laboratory Notebook
Need a higher grade level? Exploring the Building Blocks of Science Book 7 will be released just in time for the new school year!
Initially, I didn’t think that I would need all three books. But as I examined them, I was extremely impressed at how clearly everything is written and how thorough (but not overwhelming) the program is.
The teacher’s manual is a sort of guideline for which lessons and resources to use and when. The student textbook is written directly to the student, so I was able to give the book to my daughter and let her read the lessons, define the terms, and follow the instructions herself. It’s a really great way to reinforce independent learning at this level.
The laboratory notebook is for students to write down and draw their observations as they conduct the experiments in the book. After all, the goal here is to raise scientists. 🙂
Want to learn more about Real Science-4-Kids? Listen to the program author, Dr. Keller, explain more about how the program works!
Learning How to Use a Light Microscope
Okay. Microscope time!
Ours is the My First Lab Ultimate Digital Microscope, which is monocular. But if you’d like a binocular model, the OMAX Binocular Compound Microscope looks pretty good as well. The student textbook contains a nice summary of the features to look for when choosing a good light microscope.
Unit 7 in the program deals with microscope basics. I assigned section 7.1 through 7.3 as reading. Then we started working with our microscope.
As you can see, my child was basically waiting for me to shut up so she could get her hands on the microscope.
To help her identify the parts of the device, we grabbed a few Post-Its and wrote the name of each part (corresponding to the diagram in the textbook) and then labeled them.
After that, it was easy peasy to fill in the diagram in the textbook!
As part of the science lesson, we looked at various biological samples under the microscope, including pencil markings and blood. Since we already had prepared microscope slides with a sample of frog blood, we didn’t have to prepare them, which saved time. But if you want to make your own slides, you’ll need to pick up some blank slides to get started.
First, we wrote down letters in pencil and examined them at 4x magnification and 10x magnification. Tigger wrote down her observations afterward and surprised to see how different the markings appeared at a higher magnification.
Next, it was time to examine a drop of blood under the microscope. This was really, really neat. At 4x magnification, we could see a pink mass with circles inside (the individual blood cells).
As we increased the magnification to 100x, though, we could see even more detail, including colors inside the individual blood cells. Following the experiment instructions, Tigger drew pictures of how the sample changed as the magnification increased.
I basically had to tear her away from the microscope afterward.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive (and affordable) grade 6 science curriculum, stop by and visit Real Science-4-Kids to pick up the Grade 6 Science bundle today! And science isn’t the only subject offered by Gravitas Publications! Visit the homepage to browse all of the company’s homeschooling helps!
Want to score this program for 30 percent off? Click the image below to get a discount on your science purchase through September 30! Or visit my referral link to get your savings! (Once you buy, you can also sign up to get your own referral link and get rewarded when your friends buy the program!)
Learn more about Real Science-4-Kids and Gravitas Publications by following the company on social media!
Get more ideas for teaching homeschool science from my It’s Science board on Pinterest!