Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Introduce your Child to a Microscope

Beginners Microscope

This post uses affiliate links.

For Christmas last year, a wonderful friend bought my kids their first microscope. I always worry that as a homeschooler, I'm not granting my kids enough access to fancy tools and such to help them learn. But the reality is, I don't remember ever using a microscope in school when I was a kid! That doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't, but if I did, the experience apparently wasn't memorable.

But my kids are loving it. And I suspect that it is because they don't have limited access to it and can use it however they like. So I thought I would share how we are using it and what (few) accessories we bought to go with it.

Parents: You don't have to be a homeschooler to nurture your child's love of science with a microscope!

Beginner's Microscope Kit

So here is what we have: (These are affiliate links)
Since the microscope was a gift, I purchased the accessories separately, but you can buy a kit to make things easier (and less expensive). 

Before we started off with our microscope usage, we opened up our Usborne Science book, The World of the Microscope: A Practical Introduction with Projects and Activities. I love this book. It starts off with a history of microscopes and includes really fun activities for using a magnifying glass. From there it goes on to the different types of microscopes that exist and then begins with how to use your own microscope, including where to set it up, lighting, and how to look at slides. And then the projects begin!

Beginners Projects with Microscopes

One of the first microscope projects involved looking at a feather. It is just a short section in the book, but - WOW! - we certainly got a lot out of this.

I started off having my kids learn how to focus the microscope and then take turns looking at the feather under various magnifications. The microscope above comes with three lenses that magnify the object 4x, 10x and 40x. I had them draw what they saw in their new science journals...

First Microscope Projects for Kids

Drawing Microscope Images

I also happened to have The Feather Book by Karen O'Connor (aff), which helped me take this to another level. After reading more about the types of feathers that birds have, my son drew a diagram of a typical feather... 

Drawing Diagrams of Feathers

From here, it is just a quick jump into exploring everything else. Snow, leaves, hair, cotton balls, pond water, pine needles, salt, spices... the list goes on and on. Fortunately, so does my children's curiosity and I bet your child's does, too!

Do you follow MommyMaestra on Facebook? If so, you'll find a little gift over there from me to you to help you with your family's microscope adventures!


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