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Scale - Mystery Photos (Sara Wilson)


Sara Wilson

Principle(s) Illustrated

  1. Scientific scale
  2. Microscopy/Magnification


  • 7.5.a - Students know plants and animals have levels of organization for structure and function including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems and the whole organism.
  • 1.1.2 - Science Standard
  • 1.1.3 - Science Standard

Questioning Script

Prior knowledge & experience:

They need to know that microscopic organisms exist.

If they have had the opportunity to work with microscopes/satellite images before that would be useful.

Powers of 10 video may be helpful for understanding too.

Root question:

What is important to know when viewing images and working with science concepts?

Target response:

Science images are all about scale. You need to know the size of an object and when taking a photograph scale helps to identify what you are viewing.

Common Misconceptions:

Students often believe that microscopic objects are all the same size.                    (Bacteria, Ameoba and atoms are all the same size and can be seen under a microscope)

Students often believe that all microscopes are the same and all cells can be seen in a traditional light microscope.

Powers of 10 video


Nikon Small World Website - Has contests for photographers of microscopic objects.

Scientific American Article - Contest of microscope photography.

Wired Science Article - Includes information about the last 35 years of microscope photography.

Visible Earth/NASA - Images of Earth from satellites above.

NASA Earth Observatory - Image of the day from NASA satellites.

Scale of the Universe - Site with a sliding scale showing relative size of different objects.

Photographs and Movies