Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • In this activity, students model how scientists interpret microscope data by using thin slices of jelly lollies to build up a 3D image.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    What food is this?

    Examples of some common foods thinly sliced into 2D sections from different angles – can you identify them all?

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • describe how they used thin, 2D-like slices to build up a 3D image
    • explain how this process relates to actual data interpretation when using microscopes and other imaging technologies
    • describe some of the methods scientists use to help them interpret the data from 2D images.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • discussion questions
    • extension ideas
    • student worksheet.

    Nature of science

    While observation and gathering data is essential to the process of science, it is only half the picture. Interpreting these observations and data is the other half. Scientists’ observations can’t directly tell them how things work. Instead, observations inspire, lend support to and help refute hypotheses and theories.

    Activity idea

    A second approach, using 2D images taken from different angles through the whole thickness of a sample to build up a 3D image, is explored in the activity Using shadows to build 3D images.

    Useful link

    See these MRI scans of images of fruits and vegetables.

      Published 29 February 2012, Updated 8 May 2014 Referencing Hub articles
          Go to full glossary
          Download all