Monday, October 6, 2014

Adventures with a Microscope - House Fly

New for us this year (AmblesideOnline YR7) is Adventures with a Microscope.

Today, our daughter chose the chapter on how the fly walks on the ceiling. Instructions are to catch a house fly in a jar and use chloroform to kill it. We didn't have any chloroform so she caught one and we covered the jar in plastic wrap, secured it with a rubber band, and popped it in the freezer.  

She asked me to help her remove an eye with a scalpel - um. okay. Oh the situations we homeschooling moms find ourselves in! It got rather bloody, but we managed. 

Here are its claws and the sticky pads which allow it to walk on walls.

And here is its wing structure. 

One good thing about the microscope is that the dust from our container that stuck to the fly is unidentifiable as such ;-p

YR7 students choose 3 of these adventures per term. Additional adventure possibilities exist in what we find locally, like our beaches. Even though it won't be in the book, it potentially means more when it's something we live among and see in our pattern of life. 

She could look up the anatomy of bryozoa or a sand crab and craft a similar adventure. YR8 will bring even more adventures.  

What benefits her in these adventures, I think, is that she has a level of choice, and it is her learning and discovery. She craftily caught the fly right here in our home. And I am here to help as she needs - like hacking a fly's eye off - otherwise, she manages what she is capable of. 

I showed her all the functions of the microscope and how to switch the lens to the camera to take pictures for future reference. When I told her the slide container had a labeling system, she also decided to keep a slide of each to begin a collection to share with friends. 


  1. Such a great lesson! I will have to look for that book!

  2. Looks fun! My stepdad Mike Wood wrote a microscopy book: Magnificent Microworld Adventures. It's for grades 4-9. How cool that you have a microscope with a camera!

  3. Hi there! I found you from Jeanne's blog, and was wondering what microscope you have, and if you would recommend it? I am venturing into purchasing one and have no idea! Thank you!!

  4. Hi Julie, This is the microscope we got. I really don't know much about them, except that this had up to 2500x magnification and LED light which doesn't kill any organisms with heat from the light. I was advised not to purchase a microscope that had a build in camera since microscope technology will not change much, but camera technology is still changing rapidly. Hope that helps!