When kids are learning how to view specimens under the microscope, it's better to teach them to keep both eyes open but cover one with a hand. Squinting one eye shut and viewing with the other leads to eye strain which is painful! Especially if you are doing a 40 minute microscopy class! After a while, they won't need to cover one eye, they'll be able to keep both eyes open but just focus on the one viewing the microscopic specimen.
We always start with salt which sounds kind of boring but it looks SO COOL under a microscope!! Here it is at 40X magnification:
It looks like beautiful little crystals floating in a night sky! Many of the crystals are cubicle- something that is hard to notice about salt without using a microscope. Then we look at sand from all over the world. I have lots of sand from the Jersey Shore because we live right near it. I also have sand from Bermuda, Aruba and some other islands- the specimens look very different under the microscope! 40X mag:
My students can see how sand is actually made up of tiny perfectly smooth pieces of rocks, crystals, shells and coral. They are always so surprised at how smooth the sand particles are. We examine feathers, hair, fabric, & the comics (you can see the tiny dots that make up every color!) We also look at some prepared specimens of blood, cells, pollen, & insect parts. If you use microscopes in your classroom, please let me know the make & model. I have a class set of Ken-a-vision Professors but I need to replace some & would like to try some other recommended brands.
Depending on what part of the world you're in - Happy Summer or Happy Back to School to you!!