Science Department Gains Access to Electron Microscope for STEM Week

On top of STEM’s week’s guest speakers and presentations, the Science Department also benefited from its participation in Hitachi’s Electron Microscope Educational Outreach Program. The program aims to inspire students to pursue achievement in the STEM fields through demonstration of advanced science and field technology.

Hitachi, which manufactures a variety of engineering and electronic instruments, lends TM3000 scanning electron microscopes to schools across the nation. The microscope was available to the Science Department last week during STEM week and returned on Friday to Hitachi. Participating biology classes dedicated class periods for students to bring in specimens to view under the microscope.

“We used [the electron microscope to let] students look at things that they can’t normally look at under a light microscope, so it was a unique opportunity,” science teacher Greg Stoehr said.

With the scanning electron microscope, students could their specimens at 30,000x magnification, and receive information on the sample’s topography and composition. In addition to the standard function of a scanning electron microscope, this particular model included a unit that could show the distribution elements within the sample.

“People were actually able to identify the different elements in a rock sample,” Stoehr said. “In stomates, [students can] see potassium, and in a swimmer’s hair, they can see chlorine.”

The Science Department hopes to schedule another week with the microscope next semester. Currently, this date is tentatively set in February.