Experimenting with microscopes and microscope slides can produce a variety of results, depending on what type of microscope you use and what types of items are viewed. Place different items between glass slides and view them with a compound microscope or a stereo microscope and wet mount or dry mount slides to view the components that make up each specimen.
Flora and Fauna
Wet mount slides are generally ideal for studying once-living things because they keep the objects fresh. Objects that change consistency when wet, such as fur or feathers, should be viewed using a dry mount slide. Experiment with natural specimens, such as celery stalk, cork, balsa wood, tree bark, carrot, leaf, mushroom spores, blades of grass, or flower petals. Experiment also with animal-related specimens, such as the wing or leg of an insect, spider web, animal hair or fur, or feathers.
Place different household items and substances under a microscope for insight into how they are created. Experiment with different fibres, such as upholstery fibres, yarn, fabric, and carpeting to see the individual fibres close up. Mix water and paper scraps in a blender and examine the resulting pulp on a wet mount slide. Soap bubbles and soap film or film from different house cleaning chemicals or different types of soap will all produce different effects under a microscope.
Swab cells from the inside of a cheek and wipe them onto a dry mount slide to examine them beneath a microscope. Try the same thing with a fingernail clipping, a drop of blood or saliva, or a scraping of plaque from your teeth. Look at human hair and pet hair under the microscope using a dry mount slide. The best way to examine hair under a microscope is first to coat it with clear nail polish so you can see its texture more clearly.
Chemicals and Substances
Many different chemicals and food substances produce different shapes and colours under a microscope. Most can be placed on a wet or dry mount slide, and some will produce different results, depending on the type of slide you use. Experiment with Epsom salt, table salt, alum, sodium carbonate, regular sugar, icing sugar, artificial sweeteners, copper sulphate, honey, cultured yoghurt, and different types of mould, such as bread or fruit mould.