Microscope Labeling


This simple worksheet pairs with a lesson on the light microscope, where beginning biology students learn the parts of the light microscope and the steps needed to focus a slide under high power.   

The labeling worksheet could be used as a quiz or as part of direct instruction. Students label the microscope as you go over what each part is used for.  Then they answer short fill in the blank sentences about the proper use of the microscope.

The google slides shown below have the same microscope image with the labels for students to copy.  I often spend the first day walking students through the steps and having them look at a single slide as we do the steps.   

Students are often very enthusiastic about using microscopes and will try to start with the high power objective.  But, they quickly find that you can’t see anything with the high power. This is because you must focus the specimen under low power first.

Quick Instructions for Focusing the Microscope

1) Start with scanning (the shortest objective) and only use the COARSE knob.  Move the slide until the specimen is centered. Once it is focused…

2) Switch to low power (medium) and only use the COARSE knob.  You may need to recenter your slide. Once it is focused..

3)  Switch to high power (long objective).   The view will be blurry, at this point only use the FINE knob. you may need to recenter the slide.

Other Microscope Activities

There are several activities that I have used with the microscope unit, including an advanced laboratory exercise for my AP Students.

  • Introduction to the Light Microscope – students focus the letter “e” on prepared slides and practice using common slides. Appropriate for first year biology or life science (grades 8-10).
  • Investigation: How Can a Microscope be Used to Make Observations – this activity is designed for second year (AP) students, assuming they learned have already learned the basics.  It includes review of how to focus and then more advanced topics, such as measuring with the microscope and creating wet mounts.
  • How to use the Microscope – more of a guide that can be printed, I usually save this for students who miss a day or seem to be struggling.
  • Introduction to the Light Microscope –  Google Slides outlining procedures and microscope use