Physics and Astronomy

Microscopic Manipulations
Objective To prepare specific microscopic slides and accurately measure cell dimensions to determine how many cells will fit into a measured length, area and volume.
Participants Teams of up to six.

Microscope, ruler, slides, coverslip, droppers, cutting device, specific objects for measurement of length, area and volume. A meter stick must be provided by each team


1. Each team will prepare three microscope slides of specific tissues as directed by the convener. Some average dimension of each cell type will be made.

2. Concurrently, other team members will measure and calculate some dimensional quantity such as room length, or area of a petri dish, or volume of a container.

3. The dimension of the average cell measured in (ii). above will be related to the dimension measured in (iii). above. For example, how many liver cells, laid end to end in their longest dimension will be needed to cover the length of the floor?

4. Students will identify the structure and functions of organelles in plant and/or animal cells.

5. The team's answer will be compared to the judge's answer. The judge's decision will be final. Variations in cells will place the onus on the student teams to find the best averages to use.

6. This event will last 30 minutes.


A team score will be determined by using the best of the three measurements.

The best measurement of each team will generate a team score using the formula

Team Score =

In London , this event was one fifth of the Grade Nine Pentathlon. The five events are:

Cryptic Word Search.
Heavy Engineering.
Chemical Caper.
Microscopic Manipulation's
Star Wars
Source London District Science Olympics. This event was designed by Dennis Trankner and John Welbourn.

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