Dempsey Middle School sixth-graders got up close and personal with microorganisms during a science experiment Tuesday.
Dempsey science teacher Deborah Graham said her students are studying the six characteristics of living things, and she brought in microorganisms to show students several of those characteristics.
During the lab, students used a microscope to observe a hydra, a microscopic fresh-water organism, and a daphnia, a type of water flea. Graham said the organisms are transparent, which allow students to see how their bodies function as well as see how the hydra reproduces asexually or how the daphnia devours prey.
Graham said her students were excited for the lab, but she stipulated that only students caught up on all their assignments could participate in the lab.
“They are hands-on and fully engaged,” Graham said. “They want to do it because it’s cool. It’s way more interactive (than a presentation.)”
Students took turns observing the hydra with a microscope before Graham would add in the water flea so students could see how they interact. Several students squealed and recoiled upon looking at the water flea through the microscope.
“I like being grossed out,” laughed Madelynn Barnthouse.
One of her lab partners, Lily Keibler, said that they were enjoying the small-scale lab.
“It’s not an everyday kind of thing,” Keibler said. “I like seeing things we wouldn’t normally see. I think it’s fun to do.”
“I like seeing weird creatures,” Ava Osborne said.
Graham added this is likely the first time students used a microscope, and the lab provided students with the basic techniques need to use the instrument.
Student Keagan Craig said he really enjoyed the lab, and his favorite part was realizing that the organisms “were so small.”
Graham said the students will have to use their knowledge of the six characteristics of life to pass a test at the end of the unit.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.