Microscopy Today

My first interaction with microscopy was in a form one Biology classroom. In my entire experience in the laboratory, I can count the number of times I was able to touch a microscope. In some instances, most of the microscopes would not be operational forcing us to share one microscope amongst ten to fifteen students.

Using a foldscope to observe microorganisms

However, ‘microscopy today’ has brought along inventions that have provided students with the opportunity to learn better and in more exciting ways.

Foldscope is one of the inventions on microscopy today. It is a simplified form of a microscope made out of folded papers and a very powerful magnifying lens with a magnifying power of X140, which can be increased to X1000 if a mobile phone camera is used. This has allowed microscopy to become more accessible to both teachers and students. It is cheaper and an available resource that can be purchased in bulk.

During my experience at Edutab Africa, I have had a chance to explore microscopy activities using Foldscope. Foldscopy has made Biology exciting and I get thrilled when observing specimens under a Foldscope. At one time, I was able to observe the limbs of an insect, which was impossible to do during my high school experience. I was also able to observe onion cells, a pattern I don’t recall observing back in school.

Observing epidermal cells of an onion

One thing I loved most about the Foldscope is that it is easy to use and carry around. I am happy that learners will be able to explore Biology and their surroundings better than I did. Working at Edutab has given me the opportunity to explore microscopy as we implement it in learning institutions.

By working with rural schools in Kenya such as Kongoni Primary School , Rayzon School and Common Grounds in Kakamega county and Mtelo Girls in West Pokot, Edutab Africa has made microscopy easier and fun. Exploring surroundings while observing organisms under a Foldscope has become possible. Edutab has also provided Foldscopes to these schools where learners are being given the opportunity to explore biology in an easier way. 

Students using foldscope to observe microorganisms

Microscopy is here to make learning fun and exciting, at the same time triggering curiosity and discovery in geology and anatomy as reported by TEPSA. From my experience with ‘microscopy today’, it will be possible to achieve this goal.

Written by Faith Wanja, an intern who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Cooperatives and Community Development at The Co-operative University of Kenya.