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Magnifying and Observing Cells

Author(s): Barbara Tharp, MS, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

Materials for Each Group of Students

You will need one or more microscopes for each group of four students.

  • Iodine solution* and dropper or pipette
  • Water and dropper or pipette
  • 2 plastic cover slips
  • 2 plastic microscope slides
  • 2 toothpicks
  • 1/6 of an onion, vertical slice
  • Small length of Elodea stem, with leaves attached
  • Drawing paper (or students’ lab notebooks or science journals)
  • Copy of “Preparing and Viewing Slides” student sheet
  • Group concept map (ongoing)


Iodine solution is toxic if ingested. Read the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) carefully. Iodine will stain clothing permanently. Be aware that some people are allergic to iodine.


Purchase one onion, and a section of Elodea (water weed, available at aquarium supply stores)

Place group materials on trays in a central location for each group's Materials Manager to pickup. 

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605