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Algae vary in color and size from microscopic plants to larger forms such as seaweed and kelps. Oriental people use some kinds of large seaweed as wrappers for some foods. You can buy it in sheets in the veggie section of stores.

That information does not help us find a use for the tiny stuff. Since people who have aquariums are told to keep their fish out of the sun so that algae won't form, it must
be bad. We are also instructed to avoid algae in our back yard swimming pools - that's why we use chlorine.

Green algae is a common microscopic form that is widely distributed in ponds, lakes, streams, and on land in damp places. More than sixty-seven hundred kinds have been

Collect some green scum that forms on stagnant pools and transfer it to a large aquarium or jar.

Algae can be cultured in an aquarium placed in strong, but not direct sunlight. A stocked aquarium usually provides some nutrients for the algae to grow.

Place a drop of algae on a microscope slide, and examine it under a microscope. Individual plants will be visible. Count the number of different forms you see and use reference books to identify them.

Observe a single plant for a while and perhaps see it reproduce by fission (division of cells).

So why are we growing it? The student who finds a good use for microscopic algae gets a reward: Stand up and tell the class the purpose of microscopic algae, and everybody will clap for you and you can bow.

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