Teaching students how to use a microscope is an essential component of any high school biology class. I was surprised at how many of my 9th graders had never used one before, so I had to go back to basics to develop introductory activities for them. My goal was to have my students use the equipment safely, get a basic understanding of how the microscope works and get the opportunity to see various things up close. The key here is safety. I think my kids never used microscopes because their teachers didn’t trust them with expensive equipment.
Give them a general background, lay down the rules, teach them the parts, and let them do a lab. This is my approach for using microscopes as a lead-in to a unit on cell structure.