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How to work with Microscopes

Microscopes have been around for hundreds of years, with the earliest known as “flea glasses” because they were used to observe insects. Insects certainly come in all shapes and sizes – some so small we can hardly see them, and some as big as birds!!

The aptly named Titan beetle, is the largest in the world, growing up to 6.6 inches long! Scarily, it has mandibles capable of snapping a pencil in half, and could certainly rip into human skin!  Or if you are looking for the heaviest insect, then it is the Giant wētā.  Closely related to crickets, they are enormous insects hailing from New Zealand. Weighing around the same as a sparrow, unlike crickets, they are unable to jump. They have been on the Earth for nearly 190 million years!!  The meaning of their name is not so pretty – derived from the Maori word “wetapunga”, meaning “god of ugly things”.

You definitely would not want to meet a tarantula hawk, the largest wasps on Earth. Growing to over 2 inches long, they are not to be messed with. The females will lay her eggs inside a living tarantula’s abdomen. The spider is then eaten alive after her eggs hatch out! As you can imagine – their stingers are very large and very painful!

GCSE scientists – you need to understand how to use a microscope. For help with this try our new guide “How to work with Microscopes”. In this guide is an explanation of how to use microscopes as well as how to calculate magnification. There is also information on the difference between electron and light microscopes. It includes questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.

Click on the picture below to see the guide.

Microscope revision


Come back and check our blog page for more resources to help you improve your understanding of different topics in various subjects.  New Maths and Science guides will be coming soon.

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