Using microscopes was always one of the highlights of science class. They offered a view of the world we don’t often see and it was fun to break down familiar (and not-so-familiar) substances to their basic building blocks. If you ever feel like your science lessons are a little dry, microscopes let you add pizazz with cool visuals.
Before you buy new microscopes, here are a few things to consider:
Type – If you’re working with younger students, stereo microscopes are easy to operate and offer high magnifications for specimen such as leaves, rocks and flowers. Compound microscopes are suited for seeing small details in cells and organisms in pond water.
Power – How are you going to use your microscope? If they’re going to be used often, opt for a microscope with a power cord. This prevents you from having to charge or replace batteries often. If your microscopes will be used outside the classroom, cordless models that use either a rechargeable battery or a UBS port are the way to go. Simply plug them in after class to recharge.
Head Type – Monocular head microscopes are less expensive and simpler to operate, though they offer lower magnification. Binocular head microscopes are good for older students and advanced labs; the separate eyepieces prevent eye strain and can be focused independently.
Capturing Images – Many digital microscopes hook up to a computer or projector so you can share what’s under the lens with the entire class or take pictures for future lessons. If tight budgets prevent you from getting more than one microscope for your class, it’s best to have something that all students can see and/or use.
Traditional microscopes have also undergone a bit of a technology update. Celestron’s Digital Multi-Purpose Microscope with Camera is a workhorse of a microscope, perfect for small groups or lab partners, but the included digital camera makes it a versatile tool for teachers as well.
Right now we’re giving away Celestron’s Digital Multi-Purpose Microscope Kit with Camera to three lucky teachers. This kit includes auxiliary pen light illumination, software that lets you save images and video, plus three prepared slides. Visit our Facebook page for more.
Looking for more information about microscopes? Read up in our buying guide.