I've been busy this semester with a new class: Forensic science. The science of crime solving is my new strategy for spreading the good news of science to the portion of the student body who previously didn't want to buy what I'm selling.
So far it seems to be working; parents and other teachers report positive chatter about forensics outside of class.
I like forensics as a science class because it allows me to go broad, touching on all the different disciplines I like to teach. In a typical week I teach them biology, a little chemistry, a little physics, a LOT of math [a great achievement for this particular student audience], and even English and history.
Thursday and Friday we spent two days on the microscope looking at $35 worth of pollen bearing flowers that I bought in the neighborhood. Fairly cheap student light microscopes gave decent views for them to sketch the pollen of Lillies, daisies, gladiolas, and a few flowers that I haven't gotten the correct name for. If we had more time there are routes of inquiry I wish we could follow on this, because the flowers that DIDN'T yield viewable pollen interest me as much as the ones that did. (One of the main things they taught us in research at Ohio State is that a negative research result can be exploited just as well as a positive one if you're clever and curious.)
I didn't take any pollen pictures under the microscope yet but here is a picture of my own skin cells that I took Tuesday with a hand held camera and the microscope at 400x power: