Parts of a doorknob, by Henry Robinson Town, 1904
label the parts of a microscope
parts of a microscope worksheet
Google allows me to peek under the hood to see how various folks stumbled onto the blog. One of the tools lists the searches used to find my site.
Five of the top 10 searches were the phrases above.
Yes, I know it's kids looking for an easy way to do their homework, or a desperate teacher or two on a Sunday night looking for something, anything, to get through the next day.
I like that particular post--"The microscope "e" lab kills science"--and what I wrote then I still believe now:
It's not about power, it's about seeing.
Because of the cultural power of grading, children across the States continue to memorize, or at least pretend, the parts of a microscope. Their future depends on decent grades and their ability to jump through hoops. Such is the fate of the landless.
Who says irony is dead?
One of the best biology lessons I've seen was shared here by Jeffrey Michals-Brown:
How bout some solid ideas for "homework" that's worthy of doing? I'll begin: Go home and find some wild dirt. (If you don't have a yard, find some in a weedy lot near home.) Put a good double-handful of it (just the dirt: no plants or roots) into a biggish transparent jar with a lid. A big mayonnaise or peanut butter jar (wash it well!) is just the thing. Put your name on jar and lid. Bring it to school and leave it on the classroom windowsill. We'll water it a bit, and leave it in the light for a few weeks. We'll poke around in it periodically. What do you think will happen in your jar? Why?
How many kids know what would happen? How many kids have seen it happen?
There are only so many homework assignments a child can do in a single year of biology (if you believe homework is worth doing at all). What is your "Label the Parts of the icroscope" worksheet replacing?
Why do we need to know the parts of a microscope?
Here's a list of words unfamiliar to most of us:
escutcheon plateBut I bet every one knows how to use a door knob--and even if you didn't, learning the various parts of its mechanism won't help you a lick, no matter how motivated you might be to get out of the house.
So why do we do it?
It's easy to test, easy to grade, it's "scientific",and, when you get down to it, we simply do not value a child's time enough to do otherwise.
Or ours, either.
If we knew what we wanted out of a lifetime, if we truly believed there's a life worth living beyond the tiny pops of dopamine surges we get from the thousands of artificial images and sounds we pay to receive daily, money some of us get for grading worksheets that have children label microscope parts, then we would not do this.
We are all of the earth. We are all finite. We are all capable (and worthy) of joy and creation.
Biology means the study of life--if I have a drop of pond water squirming with critters more bizarre than anything George Lucas can imagine, I won't have to prod a child into figuring out how to use a scope. I'll know she figured out how with the first Wow! out of her mouth as others jostle her for a peek.
She might not know a lick about the names of the parts, but she'll know how to use them, and she'll know how to use them because, in the end, life is interesting.
Do you realize how many folks forget those last three words?