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ARTICLE

Cell organelles

Every cell in your body contains organelles (structures that have specific functions). Just like organs in the body, each organelle contributes in its own way to helping the cell function well as ...

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ARTICLE

Magnification and resolution

Microscopes enhance our sense of sight – they allow us to look directly at things that are far too small to view with the naked eye. They do this by making things appear bigger (magnifying them) ...

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ARTICLE

Preparing samples for the electron microscope

Electron microscopes are very powerful tools for visualising biological samples. They enable scientists to view cells, tissues and small organisms in very great detail. However, these biological ...

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How microscopes magnify

A microscope is something that uses a lens or lenses to make small objects look bigger and to show more detail. This means that a magnifying glass can count as a microscope! It also means that ...

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ARTICLE

Animal cells and their shapes

Cells are the building blocks of life – all living organisms are made up of them. Textbooks often show a single ‘typical’ example of a plant cell or an animal cell, but in reality, the shapes of ...

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ARTICLE

The role of observation in science

Observation is something we often do instinctively. Observation helps us decide whether it’s safe to cross the road and helps to determine if cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven ...

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ARTICLE

Types of electron microscope

Electron microscopes were developed in the 1930s to enable us to look more closely at objects than is possible with a light microscope. Scientists correctly predicted that a microscope that used ...

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ARTICLE

The microscopic scale

From the universe itself down to the tiniest subatomic particle, objects in our world exist in a mind-boggling array of sizes. With microscopes, we can look directly at some of the objects and ...

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ARTICLE

Light microscopes

Since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first saw mysterious ‘animalcules’ (bacteria) through his simple glass lens in the late 1600s, scientists have wanted to understand more about the strange and ...

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ARTICLE

History of microscopy – timeline

Microscopes let us view an invisible world – the objects around us that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. This timeline provides a look at some of the key advances in microscopy. ~710 ...

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ARTICLE

Seeing atoms

Nanotechnology is possible partly because tools have been developed to ‘see’ particles of matter a nanometre (nm) across, or smaller. That’s less than a billionth of a metre. When the idea of ...

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ARTICLE

Exploring with microscopes – introduction

We live in a beautiful world – and that beauty and complexity extends far beyond what humans can see unaided. From plant and animal anatomy to cells and proteins and even down to the level of ...

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ACTIVITY

Which microscope is best?

In this activity, students use the Which microscope? interactive to learn about various types of microscopes and discover which microscope is best for a specific sample type. By the end of this ...

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ACTIVITY

Microscope parts

In this activity, students identify and label the main parts of a microscope and describe their function. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: identify the main parts of a ...

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ARTICLE

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Microbiology started with Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1676. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms and includes the fields of bacteriology, virology and mycology. Van ...

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ARTICLE

Gold nanoparticles from plants

In a corner of a laboratory at Massey University’s Institute of Technology and Engineering, plants are growing under bright lights. They look out of place amongst all the high-tech equipment, yet ...

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ARTICLE

A closer look at the cell’s antenna

We know a lot about how cells work and about the organelles they contain (the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and so on). However, scientific knowledge is always changing. Even when ...

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ARTICLE

Microorganisms – introduction

Since their discovery by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, microorganisms have been found in almost every environment on earth. Microorganisms are capable of causing disease but are also used to make ...

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