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Digital Microscope Fun

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William had a hard time finding his rhythm in school today.  After circle the room a few times he finally found himself at the new nature drawers.  He explored the shark teeth along with a number of fossils.  He eventually made his way to the drawer which contained quartz.  He carefully studied each piece until he came to me and said he wanted to see what was in each piece.  After a moment of thought, I decided that this would be a good opportunity for our digital microscope.

Nature Exploration Drawer

Curious about the quartz

For those that aren't familiar, a digital microscope is a small device that attaches to your computer and allows you to view specimens much in the same way that you would via a traditional microscope.  The big difference is that it allows you to display it on a computer screen.  This can be a huge benefit for the younger crowd who often can't navigate eye pieces as well as older children.  I can also point out specific areas of interest.  It also adds the fun element of being able to take pictures and record videos.  Today we only looked at static objects but I know the video portion will come in handy once we finally hatch our triops eggs.

Our microscope setup at my computer.  The image is on the screen.

And here are just a few of the items we ended up looking at today.  And please note that I am not great at holding the microscope while pushing the photo button when everyone is excitedly grabbing at it.  We started with various rocks and minerals.

Optical Calcite


Iron Pyrite


As always, it quickly moved to everyone wanting to see images from themselves.  We enjoyed comparing hair.  Can you guess which head belongs to each family member?




#4 - Ok, this one is pretty obvious.

And of course, various patches of skin.

We also compared the articles of clothing we were wearing.  They were a bit surprised to discover that there were more differences than color upon close inspection.

Finally, we decided to see how different mediums looked on paper.


Ink Pen and Printer Ink


Ink Pen

Can anyone guess what this is from?

I highly suggest looking into a digital microscope, especially if you have a younger crowd.  Every time I pull ours out I have to declare our time up or I think they could go for hours.  It brings up so many questions and that's without anything formal planned yet.  I purchased this scope from Amazon.  Over the last two years, Amazon has offered this model for a great discount during holiday season lightening deals.  And while we're on the topic of the holiday season...  This is one of the those items that makes a fantastic educational gift for a child.

I won't claim to know a lot about these scopes but my one recommendation is that you get one that has a light source built in.  Mine has LEDs on the front and it makes a huge difference when viewing specimens.
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