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Tools of Magnification

Author(s): Barbara Tharp, MS, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

Creating a Wet Mount Slide

Many samples are easier to observe under a microscope if they are placed in a drop of water on a slide. This common slide preparation is called a wet mount. The cover slip used in a wet mount helps to protect the lenses in the objectives. For this activity, students will create a wet mount of a small piece of newsprint. 

Students will need a slide, cover slip, sample, water and dropper. Have them follow the steps below to prepare their slides.

1. Place a 1-cm square piece of printed newspaper in the center of a clean microscope slide. Newsprint that is printed only on one side works best. Place the paper on the slide, with the printed side facing upward.

2. Place a drop of water on the paper and gently cover it with a cover slip. The cover slip should be held at an angle and lowered like a hinge over the sample. Adhesive forces between the glass cover slip and surface of the water will hold the cover slip in place.

3. Finally, place the slide on the stage of the microscope. If the stage has clips, place the clips over the slide to hold it in place.

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605