Microscopic Explorations

A GEMS Festival Guide

Grades 4—8

Written by Susan Brady and Carolyn Willard

Salt crystals loom and brine shrimp wriggle. Who knew? Under a classroom microscope, everyday things and little-known organisms reveal their inner beauty. In the joyous spirit of discovery, this introduction to hand lenses and microscopes explores the up-close worlds of minerals, fabric, fingerprints, postage stamps, kitchen powders, pond life, and even sand.

Microscopic Explorations features ten learning-station activities designed to ignite student curiosity in widely diverse scientific fields. It addresses the care and proper use of classroom microscopes and demystifies these extraordinary instruments. The "Discovery Quilt" is one of several options for students to sum up their discoveries.

The activities in Microscopic Explorations make excellent connections to other GEMS units (More Than Magnifiers, Mystery Festival, Fingerprinting, Color Analyzers, Aquatic Habitats, Stories in Stone, and many more). This guide represents an innovative partnership between GEMS and the Microscopy Society of America, which sponsored its development.

Praise for Microscopic Explorations:

"What student does not enjoy exploration and discovery? Microscopic Explorations: A GEMS Festival Teacherís Guide has taken full advantage of this natural curiosity and incorporated it into a teacher-friendly guide to a festival of microscopic exploration. The book is based on sound scientific principles and concepts, meets national standards, and presents its contents in a unique manner that allows for independent and guided inquiryÖFrom the prep checklists to the extensive resource and assessment suggestions in the back, GEMS has illustrated expert professionalismÖThe culminating activity of a "Discovery Quilt" leaves students confident and eager to take their investigations beyond the classroom. The book even makes great suggestions for enlisting and employing the help of volunteers. Gather plenty of microscopes, tables, and volunteers and let the investigations begin!"

National Science Teachers Association Recommends

More Praise for 
Microscopic Explorations:
"Microscopic Explorations
introduces fourth- to eighth-grade students to the basic skills of scientific research, microscopic concepts, and applications, and is a guidebook to help teachers and community volunteers put together a science microscopy festival. I highly recommend Microscopic Explorations as a well-organized tool to introduce students to microenvironments in a fun, learning atmosphere."

— Science Books & Films

And More Praise for Microscopic Explorations:
"An explicit and extensive resource for science teachers that is easy to use. … This book is quality incarnate, there's no doubt about that."

— Appraisal: Science Books for Young People

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Spanish Language Student Materials:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.

ISBN: Grade Level Format Price



10 Learning Stations,
168 pages


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