The Instrumentation Center

S.C.O.P.E. - Scientists Changing Our Pre-college Education



The University of Toledo’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Instrumentation Center is dedicated to support the enhancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. We are proud to announce a new community outreach program called SCOPE. 

 We provide teachers with resources that enhance quality of curricula and expose students to the scientific method with a hands-on approach. With the SCOPE program, students and teachers access cyber-enabled microscopes (a scanning electron microscope [SEM] and a confocal light microscope) directly from their classrooms. Several sample activities are listed at the bottom of the page that can be used as a starting point. Each SCOPE session is tailored to each class visited by the SCOPE team and the program is flexible to allow teachers to add to their existing curriculum. Best of all, this program is absolutely FREE to any school wishing to participate!

What does a SCOPE session look like?

One to two members of our team will visit your school to set up equipment, download the free software needed, and run the session. They will bring an extra projector, projector screen, laptop, speakers, power strip, and extension cord. All you need to provide is one projector or Smart board and a computer (usually the teacher's computer) that is connected to the projector/smart board. For schools that are nearby, we will visit the day before your session to get everything set up ahead of time. Schools further away will need to include at least 30 minutes of set-up time before the sessions.

classpictured: A confocal SCOPE session set-up

Another member of our team will remain on campus and video chat with us via Google Hangouts. This team member will help with physically loading the samples and focusing/finding a good area of our sample to view.

Once the equipment is set up and we are connected to our scientist on campus, each session begins with an explanation of how the microscope works (SEM) or how the scientist in your classroom uses the instrument for their research (confocal). Once the instrument and/or research is covered, your students get to use the instrument! Our team does not control the instrument from the classroom, that is left for your students! 

8Pictured: (Above) A high school student uses the SEM directly from her classroom. (Below) A member of our team loads samples into the SEM for a SCOPE session while video conferencing with the class


Although we typically work with area schools, we are able to offer this program to anyone with an internet connection. The session is run remotely with our team members video conferencing your classroom. 

Okay, I'm interested! How do I sign up?

If you are interested in collaborating with us, please contact or Please have two to three possible dates in mind, as both instruments are routinely used by graduate students and other researchers. It is ideal to have at least two weeks to prepare for a session, as we sometimes need to prepare new samples. It is also helpful to let us know what types of samples you are interested in, although that is something we can figure out together! If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us through the email addresses listed above! We look forward to working with you in the future!

Sample Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans may be used either as is for a ready-made SCOPE session or a starting point to tailor your own SCOPE session.

*NEW!* Lesson Plans based on the Ohio Science Standards:

Each of the following lesson plans start off with a basic concept. As some subjects are re-examined in further detail in high school science classes, the same lesson plans can be used for various grade levels by adding or subtracting information.

ccCells have particular structures related to their function

    • Instrument: Confocal Light Microscope
    • Grade level/class: Grade 6, High School Biology 

ccReproduction is necessary for the continuation of every species

    • Instrument: Confocal Light Microscope
    • Grade level/class: Grade 8, High School Biology


cmCells go through a process called mitosis

    • Instrument: Confocal Light Microscope
    • Grade level/class: Grade 6, High School Biology



obPhysical and chemical properties can be used to identify rocks and minerals

    • Instrument: Scanning Electron Microscope
    • Grade level/class: Grade 6, High School Geology









phyA unique spectrum can be used to identify any element

    • Instrument: Scanning Electron Microscope
    • Grade level/Class: High School Chemistry








 The following lesson plans can be used as-is or as a starting point for ideas! 

The Scanning Electron Microscope enables observation of objects at micro- and nano-meter scale and is used to examine the morphology of samples. 

  • The Structure of Fabrics Examines fabrics to illustrate that objects under the microscope can vary greatly from expectations to reality.

Check out more SEM images.



 Confocal Fluorescent Light Microscope delivers optical images with enhanced resolution. 

Transmission and Absorption of Light Explores the use of light, chromophores, and chemistry to study cell biology.

Looking at a Real Cell Explores how cells look in real life as opposed to in text books.

Understanding Organelles: Centrioles Explores the importance of centrioles and focuses on research done by the Avidor-Reiss lab.

 We are experienced with students at all levels.

 Recent Participants:

Elementary Schools

      •Summit Academy, Toledo, Ohio

Middle Schools

•Ida Middle School, Ida, Michigan

•Jefferson Middle School, Monroe, Michigan

•Monroe Middle School, Monroe, Michigan

High Schools

•Ottawa Hills High School, Ottawa Hills, Ohio

•Ida High School, Ida, Michigan

•Whitmer High School, Toledo, Ohio

•Northwood High School, Northwood, Ohio

•Cardinal Stritch High School, Oregon, Ohio

•Napoleon High School, Napoleon, Ohio


•Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

•Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Massachusetts


 Additional S.C.O.P.E. Resources 

Facebook Page:

ICenter Calendar: Instrument Reservation

Event Handout: SCOPE Brochure







Last Updated: 5/22/18