Parts of a Microscope: Lab

This activity is designed as both instruction and assessment of the parts of the microscope and the function of each part.

As middle school and high school life science students are introduced to the light microscope, students who are visually impaired should also be taught the parts of the microscope and their functions.  This can be accomplished more effectively by allowing visually impaired students to explore the microscope tactually while the instructor is teaching.  Ideally, the TVI will be present for this lesson.  The TVI should review the parts of the microscope before the lesson.  If possible, obtain an older microscope for the student to use so that the student does not accidentally damage the microscope while exploring it.  If an older microscope is not available, an inexpensive, small microscope may be used.

This activity is designed as both instruction and  assessment of the parts of the microscope and the function of each part. 

If an actual microscope is not availabe, the text used in class will likely contain a raised line of a microscope.  Alternatively, the APH Life Science Tactile Graphics has a nice raised line of a microscope that may be utilized. 

Please refer to the Using a microscope with students with visual impairments blog on this website for more information on providing magnification or models of microscope images for  students with visual impairment while.  


microscope parts1. Light microscope (or tactile graphic of a microscope)

2. Braille label paper

3. Biology textbook – Section with description of the microscope

4. Braille or large print handout including microscope parts and their functions.


1. Make braille or large print labels for the microscope.  These should be letters, a through j.

2. Label the parts of the microscope with either large print or braille letters (as per the picture).

3. If an actual microscope is not available, use the best raised line graphic available (See Description section.)

4. Have the student’s book available for instruction should he/she wish to refer to it.


This description is of the procedure for an individual or group lesson for students with visual impairments.  If the student is in a general education class, adapt as necessary to facilitate learning within the context of the class.

  1. Hand out the list of microscope parts and their functions to the students.
  2. Allow the students several minutes, to observe the microscope both tactually and (for low vision students) visually. 
  3. As the students are becoming acquainted with the microscope, describe the parts of the microscope and the function of each. Utilize the list as you proceed.  After each part of the microscope is described, have the students tactually find this part of the microscope.
  4. Once students are familiar with the parts of the microscope, have the students create a document and label each part correctly.  During instruction, they may use the list of microscope parts.  Answer document should indicate the letters alphabetically and which parts they indicate on the microscope. 
  5. microscope quiz



For more advanced students:  The assessment can include a description of the function of each part.

For less advanced students and those with less advanced literacy skills:  The student will tactually find each part and the microscope as the instructor reads the list of parts.  The instructor will make note of incorrect and correct answers. 

NGSS Standards:

Middle School: Structure, Function, and Information Processing:  LS1.A: Structure and Function 

By Laura Hospitál

Download documents:
Collage of parts of a microscope

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