Lessons in This Chapter:

1.1 Scientific Ways of Thinking

1.2 What Is Life Science?

1.3 The Scientific Method

1.4 The Microscope

1.5 Safety in Life Science Research


The big question from the beginning of this class is “Do we need a microscope?”  Ideally – yes. But there are many factors that can go into your decision to purchase one. First, I highly discourage spending any money on a cheap microscope. They are more frustrating than useful. If you are not planning on homeschooling through high school biology and you have a child who has no desire to become a veterinarian (doctor, microbiologist, ect.), then it may not be worth the investment. There are many high-quality photos and virtual labs online (links will be provided) that your child can use. You can also check libraries, nature centers, and science museums. Many will have classes in how to use a microscope and some libraries have some that you can use or check out.

If you are ready to make the investment, we recommend the Thames & Kosmos as the very lowest entry point – anything less and it’s not worth it.

If you plan to homeschool through high school and have a child who is interested in the life sciences, we recommend looking at the microscopes available at Home Science Tools. Their home series microscopes run from around $200 to $300. Keep in mind that you need a 1000x scope to see bacteria.

The recommended activities for this chapter are The Microscope Lab and the Penny Lab. If your child is familiar with the Scientific Method, you could skip the Penny Lab. If you are not using a microscope, there is a virtual lab in the student lesson. If you are using the Thames & Kronos microscope, the labs are listed with each chapter under their own tab.

Additional/Alternate Books


Plethora Lesson Notes

[wpdm_package id=’5008′] Note: there is no Lesson Notes page for 1.5

Other Worksheets and Handouts

There are several worksheets about the Scientific Method at The School of Dragons

Parts of the Light Microscope

Microscope Basics

Thames & Kosmos TK2 Scope Labs

Lab 1: I See Something You Don’t See

Lab 2: Your New Microscope

Lab 3: The Basic Equipment

Lab 4: Cells: If You Know One, Do You Know Them All?

Documentaries and Movies

Check your library or online streaming services for Mysteries of the Unseen World

Arts and Crafts

If you have a child who likes to draw, try this lesson plan: From Under the Microscope

Extension Ideas

Looking for a project? Try turning your smartphone into a microscope.

$10 Smartphone to Digital Microscope Conversion