Students at Mountain View Middle School (MVMS) received 30 brand new microscopes for science classes this week, thanks to a grant awarded to the school's Life Science teachers, Eileen Huestis and Alan Southern.
The teachers applied for the grant through the Summer of Innovation Program (part of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium) right before the deadline on Jan. 10 and were thrilled to receive the grant money just four days later.
Huestis said that they promptly ordered 10 Swift brand microscopes from Snake River Microscopes out of Meridian. That company gave them a great deal on the microscopes at around $300 each.
The microscopes arrived at the school on Monday and students were able to go to work searching for microbes and observing paramecia and amoebas from samples of local pond water.
"My students were so excited to be the very first ones to use the microscopes," Huestis said. "They enjoyed seeing all the little crawly things from nice, heavy microscopes with good eyepieces and lenses."
Huestis said that the school had been struggling to use the old microscopes that had been in the classrooms since the school opened in
"Our old microscopes had multiple problems. They had not been serviced in nine years because there was no money and now the replacement parts needed aren't even available anymore," she said.
Huestis said that other interesting things that students will be observing through the microscopes in upcoming science labs include human cheek cells, yogurt cultures and mitosis in onion root tip cells.