Making, fixing, staining and examining a blood smear is an excellent way to gain confidence and competence in microscopy. Our Lower Sixth Biologists have this week been developing their skills, preparing slides in order to examine samples of horse blood.

Blood is packed with lots of different types of cells, and some are easier to see than others under a light microscope. To improve the visibility of some of the cell types in their samples, the students used Leischman’s stain. To do this, the students had to spread their sample very thinly across the slide – trickier than it sounds! Ideally, they were looking to get parts of the slide spread thinly enough so that the sample was just one cell deep. This allows individual cells to be observed and counted.

The class then followed several steps, applying different solutions to their slides in order to prepare them for viewing, before examining them under the microscope and taking photos of the results.

This practical lesson was a great way to exercise the student’s microscopy skills, as well as providing them with a useful insight into the cellular composition of blood.

 

Senior School | 29/03/2021