Friday, June 30, 2017

Daphnias or Water Fleas

Earlier this week I attended a workshop for teachers selected for Partner in Science grants by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Foundation of Vancouver, WA. At the workshop, I learned more about designing inquiry lessons and labs for science.

One of the projects we teachers completed was a lab to measure the heart rate of Daphnia. These crustaceans live in fresh water and about a millimeter across. As a result of their size, a microscope is needed to study them. We use stereomicroscopes and a magnification of ten power. The microscope allowed us to see the internal organs of the Daphnia. So as you can image, it was pretty cool. So cool in fact that I brought the camera lens of my cell phone up to the eyepiece to record an image. U needed to back off the lens slightly from the eyepiece and was able to capture images like the one below.

Daphnia have one eye and it's the dark spot on the upper right. Feeding arms which are spiky appendages are located to the right of the eye.

Since the still images were as successful as they were, I attempted to record a video next. The problem here was that I couldn't hold the cell phone still enough. Perhaps a small tripod is in order here. Nevertheless, the video did have an acceptable level of success.

video

My image and video demonstrates that students can successfully record microscope data with their cell phones. It's not always the best quality, but it's good enough to make cell phones an easily accessible science tool. By editing their images and video, students can create very informative graphics. Here's to the cell phone in the science lab. Just don't spend all your time texting.

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