AS/A Biology | Microscopes | Lesson plan


Jul 17 - 22 (<1 week)


  • Optical microscopes
  • Confocal microscopes
  • Electron micsoscopes
  • Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs)
  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopes (STMs)

Learning Outcomes

The students should be able to:

  • Understand the basic working principle of a compound light microscope
  • Compare it to a magnifying glass
  • Understand the difference between resolution and magnification
  • Understand the wavelength of light used sets a limit to resolution due to diffraction
  • Understand the working of electron microscopes
  • Understand that the electron microscopes can give higher resolution images at the same magnification
  • Understand the limitations and sample preparation required while using electron microscopes
  • Understand difference between SEM and TEM images
  • Have a vague understanding of higher resolution microscopes like the AFM and STM

Teaching Process

  • Documentary on the history of the microscope
  • Discussion on diffraction and how it can blur images, thus giving rise to the resolution limit


  • The practical skills and associated activities using microscopes will be conducted when the topic of cell structure is being covered.

References and suggested reading


  • Student presentation on confocal microscopes
  • Written test
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