Course Title: Conduct simple activities in a biological science laboratory

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: BIOL5098

Course Title: Conduct simple activities in a biological science laboratory

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C3209 - Certificate III in Science

Course Contact: Nevil Schultz

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4221

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Not Applicable

Nominal Hours: 10

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

This course will be run in conjunction with Cell Biology  BIOL 5099

Course Description

This unit covers the skills required to conduct simple activities in a biological science laboratory. It involves performing basic microscopy tasks, including specimen preparation, staining and scientific sketching.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU075 Conduct simple activities in a biological science laboratory


Operate monocular and stereo microscopes

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Perform basic cleaning and general maintenance of monocular and stereo microscopes

1.2 Obtain focussed images of slide specimens



Prepare and stain plant and animal tissue specimens for microscopic examination

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Prepare wet & dry mount slides of biological material suitable for microscopic examination as demonstrated

2.2 Prepare unstained and stained wet mount slides of biological material suitable for microscopic examination as demostrated


Produce scientific diagrams of slide specimens

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Obtain focussed images of professionally prepared slide specimen

3.2  Accurately sketch biological material being viewed under the microscope

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

Use of Binocular microscopes, and operation of all settings such as objective lens selection, contrast adjustment, Coarse & Fine focus control, illumination selection.

Plant Tissue Preparation for microscope slide observation. Wet mount and squash preparation techniques used.

Tissue Staining Techniques demonstration and student practical work employing staining

Safety procedure demonstration for microscope handling & tissue preparation.

Scientific sketching of images observed through the microscopes, using freshly prepared and pre-prepared slides.

Teaching Schedule

Date TopicAssessment
7 Feb 2011 Cell Theory 
14 Feb Eukaryotic Cells Under the Microscope 
21 Feb Microscope Practical part I 
28 Feb Microscope Practical part II Skill Test
21 March Drafting of microscope report 
28 March  Hand in Practical Report
4 April  Feedback on Practical Work

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources


The First Basics on How to use a Microscope:

Overview of Assessment

This course is competency based and students will be assessed as competent in the above learning outcomes with:

verbal & written questions  on microscope terms, correct handling & use

• practical demonstration by the student of wet mount & squash preparations of plant material

• practical demonstration by the student of microscope techniques

• research assignment on cell images

•  a laboratory report

Students must be assessed as competent in all assessment tasks to receive a COMPETENT result (A pass) in this course.

Assessment Tasks

This Competency is assessed such that the final result will CA, competent     or        NYC, Not yet competent

Task 1

Microscope skills test      CA/NYC


Task 2

Practical report                 CA/NYC

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Nominal Hours:  10

2 practical session @ 2 hours each = 4 hours

4 theory classes with one hour devoted to microscope theory & practice = 4 hours

2 hours report preparation time  = 2 hours

Course Overview: Access Course Overview