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'Using the Haemocytometer' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
The haemocytometer is an important piece of scientific apparatus.
This interactivity will allow students to practice the relevant
skills of proportional reasoning required for its use.The
to the problem provides lots of scientific insight
into the real use of such a piece of equipment,
This resource could be used for whole class or individual use.
The configuration for the question is randomly generated each time
the refresh button is pressed. This will require students to stay
on their toes whilst answering the questions.
Once students have become skilled in the use of the
interactivity, you might like to try a race: project a
configuration onto the board and the first student to obtain the
correct answers is the winner, allowing them to balance speed with
There are two key issues involved with using a
1) The sample chosen on the slide might not uniformly
represent the density in the big sample of the medium
2) The cell count might be made difficult due to overlapping
cells on the microscope slide.
Students should realise that they always need to consider the
1) Is my sample uniform?
2) Are the obscured cells on the microscope slide.
You could discuss these issues with the help of multiple
choices of cells and higher or lower density of medium (select
these on the interactivitiy). Don't forget that you can zoom in and
drag the grid around to focus on issues of overlapping cells.
- Have you understood the configuration of the grid? How big is
the whole grid?
- Is there an obvious order in which to work out the various
- Given the details for a question, how might you jump straight
from the count of the cells on the screen to the number of cells in
the original sample?
Can students find algebraic answers to the questions for a
general set of inputs?
In what situations might the haemocytometer be more likely to
give inaccurate results? How accurate would you expect the results
to be in everyday usage?
At first, you might like to show the answers and ask students to