Bugscope Project Shares Electron Microscope with CLC

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Bugscope Project Shares Electron Microscope with CLC

Bugscope Project

Above: a grain of pollen. Interesting fact: bees have three simple eyes, called ocelli, on the top of the head; the ocelli is sensitive to changes in light, and so can aid in stabilising flight and motion detection.

In the last week of school, middle school life scientists used an electron microscope to examine several species of bees. You might be wondering how a small school such as ours could justify an $800,000 scanning electron microscope. Well, thanks to internet technology and the Bugscope Project at the Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois, our students were able to magnify their specimens thousands of times actual size without taking out a loan. The scientists at Bugscope helped us compare stingers of different species, examine the tiny hairs on the compound eyes of the bees, and even see tiny grains of pollen and mold spores. During our hour of live microscope time, scientists answered our questions and taught us much about life at 10,000X.

It was a great way to end a year in which we studied life on so many different scales; from the biosphere to DNA molecules. Thanks again to the Bugscope team for sharing the micro-world with us. To see the conversation between CLC students and the Bugscope team, visit CLC’s Bugscope Project webpage.

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