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home : education : schools November 19, 2018

2/13/2018 2:12:00 PM
Foundation provides microscopes
Savannah Porsche, Claire Landon and Parker Warren looking at the world of tiny things through new microscopes. photo by Jim Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Savannah Porsche, Claire Landon and Parker Warren looking at the world of tiny things through new microscopes. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson

In order for a student to go out into the world thinking big, he or she sometimes finds it necessary to take a really good look at the tiny things in life. One of the best methods for doing that is to use a microscope, and last week the Sisters High School students in Rima Givot's science class were at it up to their ears - a few of them even pulling their hair(s) out.

The students had water from a pond, old pieces of newspaper tissue, roots of plants, blood slides and other stuff to look at, including pieces of human hair; their own, that is.

The microscopes the students were using were made available through the wonderful events that take place when a community and a school system get together and give it their all. There's just no way a school system can afford to buy everything they need to make their educational system work perfectly - so everyone in the community pitches in.

The Sisters Schools Foundation is the bucket that stores the monetary contributions offered by members of the community. The Sisters Science Club, and donations from individuals and other foundations, keep the bucket filled so teachers can withdraw the funds for tools they need to do their job better.

Rima Givot, the SHS science/biology teacher, asked for and received 18 Lieder microscopes with swivel heads. The swivel heads make it possible for two or more students to use the same scope just be swiveling the head around so all can see the specimen under investigation. Givot uses the scopes for a great deal of her biological investigations, even to teaching blood work with prepared slides from biological supply sources.

"I have been so excited to see the biology students become proficient at using the microscopes," she said. "They have been exploring and comparing different types of cells, relating structure to function in the larger organisms where the cells originate. The microscopes have been working really well. They were new last year, purchased with a grant thanks to the Sisters Schools Foundation and the Sisters Science Club."

One of Givot's students who was so caught up in the new adventure of using a scope had this to say about his first look at a typical garden veggie:

"The cells in an onion root contain a cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, nucleolus, a large vacuole, and other parts we can see with our microscopes.

"The cells are shaped like bricks all pushed together. An onion bulb, which is white since it grows underground and it doesn't have sunlight to provide energy to the chloroplasts, is made up of layers, which are almost in a brick-like shape being pushed together just like their cells. They don't have chloroplasts because they grow underground, in which sunlight is not able to reach them."

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