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The microscope is a fascinating instrument. And this is not even about its sleek, intricate design and numerous intriguing parts. Of course, we expect you to be familiar with many of these parts by now.

The microscope isn’t some artifact retrieved from antiquity whose elegance should just be admired by rapturous viewers who have little understanding of its usefulness. Rather, this wonderful tool offers the exciting opportunity to explore the unseen world. This object gives you the superhuman quality of being able to spot ‘invisible’ things – things you would otherwise be unable to see with your naked eye.

Did you know that there’s no restriction on what to look at under a microscope? From your leftovers to your hair, and even your wee and poo, you can view anything under the microscope.

If you have access to a microscope but you’re struggling with ideas on what to examine, worry no more. Here are 16 awesome ideas of what to look at under a microscope.

These ideas are diverse; they range from awesome, to weird, as well as seemingly unbelievable ideas. You’ll enjoy your time reading this, but you’ll have an even better time trying out our suggestions. So just dive in and let’s go!

1. Teeth Scraping

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the man credited for the invention of the microscope, was looking at the plaque that he scraped from his teeth under his microscope when he made a fascinating observation: he saw moving creatures in it. These ‘creatures’ were what we now know as bacteria.

Now, we have not checked our tooth scrapings under the microscope, but that shouldn’t stop you. While many of the other things we’ve suggested are purely for fun, checking your teeth scraping can provide information about your dental health. So, why not check it out?

2. The Inner Lining of Your Mouth

How do you get them? No, you’re not cutting off any part of your body. All you have to do is put a cotton bud inside your mouth and run it on the wall of your cheeks. It doesn’t hurt.

The cotton bud scrapes the thin lining on the inside of your mouth. This inner lining, known technically as ‘epithelial cells’ are loose, dead cells from your cheek and they stick easily to the cotton bud. Smear it on a slide and treat yourself to a nice time of discovery. You would find it fascinating checking the cells out, seeing what they look like, as well as exploring the contents (organelles) inside.

Additionally, you should be able to pick out other non-cellular bodies while looking at the slide. These are microbes living in your mouth. Fret not; it’s normal and they are harmless.

3. Mold

Do you have some leftover food that you forgot to trash? Chances are, molds are already growing on it. You can observe these with your naked eye; they are the small greyish, greenish, or brownish matter sprouting from uncovered food in a damp place. However, what can you say about what you see? Pretty little! Do you want the details? Then you should consider preparing some slides and check them out under the microscope.

Under the microscope, you will be able to see its real shape – usually filamentous or elongated. Some molds are poisonous and we advise you to take proper precautions while preparing the slides and viewing them under the microscope. Use your gloves and wear your goggles throughout the entire process.

And, to eliminate all forms of danger, you might consider buying an already prepared slide of mold. Doesn’t cost much anyway, and you’re saving yourself a lot of stress.

4. Soil

Alright, making a thin section of soil may not be the most straightforward of tasks. However, you can easily get prepared slides.

Otherwise, particularly if you use a stereo microscope, you can simply put the soil in a Petri dish and center it under the microscope. This shouldn’t be a difficult task.

Under the microscope, you will easily notice the different rock grains and fragments that are present in the Petri dish.

Apart from these, you will be able to observe some nematodes as they move about in the Petri dishes. With further magnification, you should also be able to see even more minute organisms like bacteria and fungi in the soil. It shows that the soul is ‘alive’, as it has and supports living organisms.

If you do manage to get a slide, you will be able to differentiate the different grains and sand particles based on color and size differences. Maybe it’s not as difficult as we portrayed here. In any case, you will find out that the satisfaction you get from observing the diverse microbes and sand types is worth the effort you put into making the samples.

5. Hair

How curious are you? One of the first things we wanted to find out was what our hair looks like under the microscope. There is nothing difficult about this. Just a few strands of hair from your body would do. You don’t have to make any elaborate preparation. Just put a strand of hair under the low-power stereo microscope.

Observe the different features of the hair such as color, texture, and structure. One fascinating thing that you would observe was the tiny fibers on the surface of your hair. Why are they present? What are they for? Well, you can research these on your own. But you should try to check it out first.

6. Nail Clippings

Have you ever wondered how your nails look like under a microscope? What if the surface isn’t as smooth but has many small miniature indentures that you cannot feel or see with your eyes? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Apart from the little dents on the surface, you will also observe that your nail is made up of several layers. Maybe you’ll also be able to pick out one or two other things. Why not try it out now?

7. Leaf

Preparing a plant slide isn’t strenuous. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes and you’re good to go.

You will see the well-arranged structure of leaf cells. Unlike animal cells, plant cells have a definite shape because they have a cell wall. The word ‘cell’ was inspired by the definite arrangement of plant cells viewed under the microscope. If you enhance the magnification, you will also be able to see some organelles in the cell.

Can you spot some similarities between them and your cheek cells? In what ways are they different? We are sure you’ll have a fun time comparing and contrasting the features of both cell types.

8. Onions

Perhaps you don’t know you may look at the onion peel under a microscope? Spoiler: they look almost like that of the leaf cell and they have almost the same identity, definite arrangement. Of course, you know why – the cell wall, remember? It’s present in every plant’s cells and gives them their rigid, definite shape.

You can check the leaf slide again to see if you missed out on some things when you checked earlier.

9. Pond Water

The pond contains diverse life forms. From algae to Spirogyra, to fungi, to bacteria, and many more, you should expect to find all sorts of microbes in pond water when you look at it under a microscope. So diverse are these organisms that you’ll be unable to identify most of them.

However, regardless of whether you can identify them or not, you will still have a fun time checking them out, seeing the different shapes and forms.

What more? Preparing a pond water slide might be the simplest thing to do in the world. All you have to do is to place two or three drops of pond water on the slide, using a dropper, then cover the slide. Don’t forget to wipe away excess water on the slide with blotting paper. And you’re good to go!

10. The plumage of Birds

You can see and appreciate the plumage of birds with your unaided eye. So you’re probably wondering if there’s more to see apart from that.

Of course, there’s a lot to see. Apart from the plumage, which you’ll see in detail, you will also get to see the structure of the feather up close. The intricate patterns are a real joy to behold. Moreover, your eye may catch one additional feature that you’ve never seen with your unaided eye before. So, it’s worth the view.

11. Butterfly Wings

Is this weird? Maybe! But you can also make a thin section of a butterfly and look at it under the microscope. If you’re looking at a section of a feather and butterfly wing one after the other, you will do well to compare and contrast your observations.

Are they different things? Or the butterfly wings are just a miniature version of a bird’s feathers? A simple look through the lens of the microscope can reveal a lot.

12. Yolk

Just for the thrill of it, you can also explore the yolk of an egg. Smear a small portion of the yolk on the slide and place the cover on it securely. And your egg yolk slide is ready for viewing. What would you see when you look at this slide under the microscope? Let us leave that for you to find out.

13. Sperm Cells

Yes! Sperm cells also make it into this list of what to look at under a microscope. And, it is a very sight.

One property of sperm that you will admire is their motility. You can try to observe their motility with your naked eye, before looking at them under your microscope. If you have sharp eyes like us, you should be able to detect their movement.

However, not all people will notice this with their naked eyes, and it’s fine. To see how they behave up close, stain them with a dye and prepare a slide. You will see the oval head and some of the contents therein. If you use high power, you should also be able to spot the flagellated tails of the cells. This may not be easy to see with a low-power microscope because it is transparent.

Sperm cells are fascinating to watch. Besides, you don’t have to stress too much to get them. So, why not observe them under the microscope?

14. Spittle

Another thing you can observe for insight into your personal health is your saliva. In fact, the sputum test is one common test conducted for patients in hospitals. So, why not try it on your own?

You will be surprised to see that the saliva contains a lot of germs. There’s nothing to worry about here – the vast majority of these microbes are harmless. But still, you might be interested in checking out the germs that live in your mouth. How do they compare to the bacteria you observed while viewing the lining from your cheek?

15. Distilled Water

Distilled water has gone through a series of purification processes. In the end, it is more than 99% pure. Hence, when viewing a slide of distilled water, you should not expect to see diverse microbial life forms. Nevertheless, it is still worth checking out under the microscope.

16. Swab from all around your house

Do you think your home is in pristine condition devoid of microbes? Well, it’s time to find out.

Simply get clean, sterile pieces of cotton and rub them against different surfaces in your house – your cooking pots, washed and unwashed plates, trash can, inside of your shoes, your toilet, and pretty much anywhere that comes to mind.

Smear the swabs on slides and put them under the microscope one after the other. What do you observe? Are there too many organisms? Well, maybe your home isn’t as clean as you thought.

Generally, it’s impossible not to find microbes in many of the slides. However, the higher the number of microorganisms you notice, the higher the tendency of your home being dirty. Note that it doesn’t always mean that your house is dirty. This particular observation can help you pay proper attention to your hygiene subsequently.

Final Words

The world of science is interesting. But the microscopic world is even more intriguing. While we are pretty sure that you will derive a lot of pleasure from trying out the ideas in this article, you should know that there are far many more things to look at under a microscope.

Do you have any crazy ideas apart from the ones listed here? Nothing is stopping you from trying them out!

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