Items you will need for observing the plants (macroscopically and with a stereo microscope)
- Hand lens(es) – multiple lens from 5-20 X
- Dissecting needles
- Kimwipes or brown paper towels
- Stereo microscope(s)*
- Microscope slides (see cleaning instructions below)
- Ethyl alcohol (70% available at pharmacies)
- Razor blades (single edge stainless steel)
- Hand-held microtome(s) – optional
- Stains – such as Toluidine Blue O
- Coplin jars (Fig. 3) or petri dishes (to hold cleaned slides)
*(If available, also consider an ocular attachment for cell phone to take pictures)
Cleaning microscope slides with 70% ethyl alcohol
You need to clean your glass microscope slides before use.
To do this, put on safety glasses and wear disposable gloves as alcohol is flammable and toxic. If a hood is available, work under the hood.
You can clean slides individually by dipping the slides into a beaker of alcohol, then drying them with a dustless paper towel (like a Kimwipe or brown paper towel) and then setting on a petri dish. Alternatively, rather than doing slides one at a time, you can put them in a Coplin jar (Fig. 3), pour in the alcohol and place the cover on top. Then when you need a slide, you select one and dry it at that time.
If light microscopes are available
The list of items above plus…
Cover slips – many sizes are available: we used simple 22 x 22 mm squares.
Stains (example: Toluidine Blue O, Safranin, Fast Green)
Prepared slides purchased from a commercial company (ex.Triarch)