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Cheek Cells Under a Microscope


A kid’s favorite! There is nothing like engaging a child by viewing their own body tissue and a cheek cell is a good way to start. Cheek cells are called Squamous Epithelium cells and they are also a good first use of a microscope stain, in this case Methylene Blue.

Materials Needed

  • Plain glass microscope slide

  • Slide cover slip

  • Methylene blue stain

  • Q tip or flat toothpick.


Scrape the inside of your cheek with the Q-tip and wipe it on to the center of the slide. Hold the coverslip or another slide with one end flush on the slide and gently wipe the edge of the coverslip over the scrapings. This is called a smear and it makes a specimen layer thin enough to view clearly. Leave the cells to dry. When dry, add a drop of Methylene Blue stain. This helps add contrast to the nuclei of animal cells, making them easier to view. Lower the cover slip, mount on your microscope and view starting with the lowest power objective.

Cell Plasmolysis