I See Spots and Stripes

After asking the parents to bring in leaves, we took those leaves and examined them under the microscope at the light table. The children were asked what they saw when they looked through the microscope to which most of them replied, “I see spots and stripes”.


The children counted the stripes and spots and talked about the different characteristics all of the leaves had.  After viewing several of the different leaves under the microscope, the children were asked if all of them looked the same and they said, “No”.  When asked what were the differences they explained that the leaves were “different colors of green”, that all of the spots weren’t the same size, and all of the lines looked different.

What the children were viewing through the microscope was the outside of plant cells. Cells are defined as all living things’ basic unit of structure. Cells are common to all living things and can provide information about all life. If children understand this concept they can learn about all types of living things, how they came to be, how they grow, and how they function.

By observing and analyzing the leaves the children are beginning to understand that there are many different types of plants in the world. Students demonstrated their understanding by making observations aloud with their peers. The color of green in plants is associated with the plant being able to produce its own food.




The microscope was an important tool that magnified the details of the leaves that the children would have not been able to observe with out. Looking into a microscope is an incredible and independent experience that allows the individual to explore and observe on their own. This is important for the children because it demonstrates the respect the teachers have for them as unique and intelligent beings. We want to expose the children to materials that we believe they should be exposed to, like the microscope.  Even though they many not know exactly what they are seeing, it opens up possibilities for something bigger.  It exposes them to other experiences that they may not normally get in another setting!

“Some of nature’s most exquisite handiwork is on a miniature scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifying glass to a snowflake.”

-Rachel Carson



Reference and additional reading:

Lifecycle Diversity in a Balance 


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