.post img { border:5px solid #d2d2d2; padding:2px; }

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Using Microscopes

Using Microscopes

We began today with watching a video that explained how scanning electron microscopy worked and viewed some images of the magnified wax that they could feel on the leaves.

We then cut thin cross sections from the harakeke leaves and basically learned how the microscopes worked through having a play with them. We discovered a couple of experts who were great at this were keen to show others how they managed to focus them and which level of light worked best. Students were excited about their images and the noise level rose quickly as they wanted others to see what they could view.

A cross-section of harakeke

The next activity involved extracting fibre from the flax and discovering how strong this natural product is. Many students already had background knowledge of the many uses of harakeke fibre by Maori. They found extracting the fibre was not as easy as it looked. 

We examined the fibre strands under the various magnifications and then with 10 minutes spare time we looked at anything and everything under the microscopes. So many objects came to life when viewed this way. Bevan's finger tip was amazing and someone suggested it looked just like a planet. 

To the human eye this was just a whitish dirty patch deep down on the leaf near the plant base but under the microscope it was a nest of slaters feeding on the plant debris.

Our next step in observation was examining our hands and having a go at 'blind drawing'. We were not allowed to look at our drawing hand or take our pencil off (the line had to be continuous). The focus was not on artistic ability BUT on what we could observe and notice in the detail of our opposite hand. Try it. It is not an easy thing to do. The temptation to look at what you are drawing is enormous and trying to keep your eyes moving slowly around the outline of your hand requires lots of concentration. It was so weird. No one was talking!

Some of the results were amazing!

I wonder what we are going to draw next ...

No comments:

Post a Comment