Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Letter of June 12, 1716*
Leeuwenhoek with His Microscope
Ernest Board (1877–1934)
Some biographical notes:
Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft on October 24, 1632. His father was a basket-maker, while his mother's family were brewers.
Antony was educated as a child in a school in the town of Warmond, then lived with his uncle at Benthuizen. In 1648 he was apprenticed in a linen-draper's shop.
Around 1654 he returned to Delft, where he spent the rest of his life. He set himself up in business as a draper (a fabric merchant).
by Johannes Vermeer
In 1676 he served as the trustee of the estate of the deceased and bankrupt Jan Vermeer, the famous painter, who had had been born in the same year as Leeuwenhoek and is thought to have been a friend of his.
A replica of a microscope by Leeuwenhoek
And at some time before 1668, Antony van Leeuwenhoek learned to grind lenses, made simple microscopes, and began observing with them. He seems to have been inspired to take up microscopy by having seen a copy of Robert Hooke's illustrated book Micrographia, which depicted Hooke's own observations with the microscope and was very popular.
A letter dated December 25, 1702, gives descriptions of many protists, including this ciliate, Vorticella: "In structure these little animals were fashioned like a bell, and at the round opening they made such a stir, that the particles in the water thereabout were set in motion thereby. And though I must have seen quite 20 of these little animals on their long tails alongside one another very gently moving, with outstretched bodies and straightened-out tails; yet in an instant, as it were, they pulled their bodies and their tails together, and no sooner had they contracted their bodies and tails, than they began to stick their tails out again very leisurely, and stayed thus some time continuing their gentle motion: which sight I found mightily diverting." Read more here
A 1677 letter from Leeuwenhoek to Oldenburg, with the latter's English translation behind
Doodles are the fun, unexpected, and sometimes spontaneous resources that we can include into some lessons to teach about famous scientists, writers, painters and other important facts.
Everyday we must include something captivating into our lessons, even we are teaching important skills in serious school curriculum.
Passion is what will make our students enter in the classroom waiting for something special in high school lessons, everyday.
Schools are very important environments of teaching and learning. Schools have an important role aiming to renew and reinvigorate global knowledge as they have the mission to educate children and adolescents as future citizens and good observers.
These digital resources are educational challenges to promote some good values near the new generations. Young students will be vigilant and will help to find new paths towards precious solutions to society and the planet.
Teenagers using microscope in science lesson
credits: Getty Images
- Organize an open day (one day /a week) at the school with your students to highlight the importance of science to the evolution of the world;
- Open a discussion in the classroom to emphasize the many different ways science & technologies touch our daily lives;
- Contact national and local media (radio, newspapers) to highlight the importance of celebrating Science at school;
- Ask your students to write articles, cartoons, comics in the classroom about the importance of science for sustainable societies and include them in the school newspaper;
- Build classroom-to-classroom connections between schools via social networks: schools websites, schools accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and share projects of science that will interest students of different countries;
- Create a video with Animoto (students and teachers);
- Arrange a visit to a Science Museum near you. Museums are awesome places to have a live lesson and to enriched teaching and learning