South Orangetown Central School District

SOMS student using microscope during science lab

Seventh graders in South Orangetown Middle School Science teacher Deena Kramarczyk’s class engaged in a hands-on mini lab before the December recess to study water samples under a microscope.

Leading up to the lab, students were asked to bring in water from different water sources including ponds and streams as well as water from within the school including the water fountains, sinks and even Mr. Sullivan’s turtle tank! During the lab, students had to create their own samples by adding a drop of water on a cavity slide and adding a cover slip before observing the sample under the microscope.

When looking at the samples under the microscope, students were looking for different plant and animal cells. If plant cells were present in their sample, students were looking for a cell that was green, square with sharp corners and a cell wall. If there was an animal cell, they would find a cell that was slightly red in color, round and there would be a nucleus. For each cell type, students had to draw their observations, describe the cell and explain what evidence they have that they saw a plant or animal cell.

Kramarczyk also asked students to look for anything in their water sample that was alive. If there was a live organism in their water sample, it would be moving around along the slide. Due to the time of year, most students did not find any live cells in their samples. “My plan is to repeat this exact experiment in the warmer weather later this school year so the students will hopefully be able to find more living cells! This way, we can compare our findings from this lab with the samples we collect in the spring,” explained Kramarczyk.