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Observing Animal Cells
AKA: Animal Cells


Students use a microscope to view animal cells.


This practical involves looking at animal (human) cells through a microscope. Cells are taken from the inside cheek of a student. Students should only extract and view their own cells. After the swabs and slides have been used, they need to be soaked in disinfectant and disposed of according to CLEAPSS recommendations.

Equipment required (per set)

  • Sterile cotton bud
  • Slide
  • Methylene blue solution in dropper bottle
  • Cover slip
  • Mounted needle
  • Beaker of disinfectant
  • microscope
Students need to gently wipe the lining of the inside of their own cheek with the end of a sterile cotton bud. This will gather some cells from the lining of the cheek wall. The cotton bud should then be smeared onto the slide, leaving residue on the slide. The cotton bud should immediately be placed of into the beaker of disinfectant and then disposed of.

A drop of methylene blue stains the cells so they are easily observed. The cover slip should then gently be lowered using the mounted needle, sealing the cells between the cover slip and the slide.

A high power lens should be used in the microscope to observe the animal cells. The slide also needs to be disposed of correctly according to CLEAPSS recommendations.


 CautionThe contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.