Yesterday I took my classes to the science lab for their first chance to use the microscopes. This is, usually, one of the days they completely, totally, live for. Give a seventh grader the chance to play with something as cool as a microscope and they're in heaven. Heck, give them a chance to leave the classroom and go somewhere else - like The Lab - and they're just besides themselves with excitement.
Which also means that their behavior can be less than stellar.
Which means that I also have to scare the daylights out of them before we even get to the lab so they won't do anything stupid like pull the cord to the emergency shower that's in there in case of a chemical accident or spill. Which is required by law although the most dangerous chemical in there probably isn't any more dangerous than food coloring.
However, this group, even my third period, was really good. They were spellbound (and quiet) watching me make a slide of an onion skin in the cool overhead mirror that is above the demonstration table. That is nearly as cool as watching it move when I hit the button on the wall. There are times when I think they'd be interested in watching mini-blinds move up and down.
However...the appeared to do a fairly decent job of using the microscopes. Nothing broke (a plus). Oh yeah, we had the usual "I can't see anything!" screams from kids who don't bother to try to focus the silly things, or ones who forget to turn on the light source, or (my personal favorite) the ones who don't plug the microscope in.
The true test will be tomorrow...when they turn in their lab reports...which includes a requirement to write a paragraph on how they would explain to a 3rd grade class how to use a microscope. That, I am sure, will be interesting.
However, since I had to be out of class today for a meeting downtown, and will be out for two days next week for the NMSA conference, I'm going to be needing some Bribery Activities. And earning a free day in the lab to use a microscope to look at other things (besides an onion skin) is one sure ticket to guaranteeing good behavior out of my kids.
Although I wish they'd stop trying to look at snot.