I believe that kids are never too young to start being exposed to the micro world around us. There are microscopes meant for toddlers, and there are microscopes that are fancy enough to see your kids through college. This microscope from Amazon is one of the ones we purchased for the science team, and it was durable, dependable, and offered enough magnification for even the high school group. Perfect for any homeschool lesson, experiment, or just exploring, a good microscope is a great investment in your kids.
A microscope lab should always start with a breakdown of the different parts of the microscope.
How to Use a Homeschool Microscope
Next, you should review the rules about how to properly handle a microscope:
- Carry it with both hands when moving it around.
- Place it on a flat, sturdy surface when using.
- Move the stage all the way down before mounting a slide.
- Turn the objective lenses to the lowest magnification before mounting a slide.
Now for the fun part, using the microscope.
Slides are glass and should be treated with care. Adults should handle the slides for young children, and they should supervise older kids when using the homeschool microscope
Many things can be mounted on a slide, but they need to be thin for the bottom light to shine through them and illuminate all the fun bits. If your specimen is too thick, you’ll just see a black blob on your slide when you look through the lenses.
- Mount the slide with a slide cover if possible by first sliding the stage clips out of the way. Set the slide with the specimen over the hole in the stage, then lift and move the clips into place to hold the slide.
- Turn on the lamp. A quick word about microscope lights – in my experience, a powered lamp/light source is SO much easier to work with than a persnickety mirror.
- Turn the coarse adjustment knob to raise the stage fairly close to the lowest objective lens. Look through the lens while turning the fine adjustment until the specimen comes into focus.
- Try another lens. Lower the stage, turn the objective lens to the next desired lens, then adjust the coarse knob to raise the stage, fine-tuning while looking through the lens.
Most microscopes come with already prepared slides, but there’s lots lying around the house that kids can look at. Fly wings, pollen, a grain of sand, tiny piece of tissue paper, and so on. Just keep them thin and tiny!
Let the kids play and observe. In other posts we’ll talk about staining slides and how to get the most from your homeschool microscope.