How to find specimens for your microscope

In front of you: your new microscope. You are eager to test it and wonder what you should look at. Of course you would first look at the permanent slides that came along with your microscope. But sooner or later you would like to look for new specimens to make you own slides. You want to go exploring – but where? And what are some interesting things to look at? You can observe pretty much everything that you are able to fit on a microscope slide (Read the article on specimen preparation here).

I want to give you a few suggestions of simple things to put under your microscope.

  • Cut off a small sample from the fur of a stuffed animal. Textile fibers look nice under the microscope.
  • Find some house dust. You can also collect it with some adhesive tape and then stick the tape on a slide.
  • Take a single hair and tie a knot into it. Then put it under the microscope.
  • Look at the screen of your mobile phone in low magnification to see the red, green and blue LEDs.
  • Use Qtips to collect some cells from the inside of your mouth and streak it on the slide.
  • Look at the letters of a printed newspaper.