Choosing the best microscope

Whilst you don't have to buy every piece of equipment out there to Home Educate your children as it's certainly not 'school at home' and after buying the textbooks I chose to teach them, I make most resources myself. The local park provides plenty of natural resources such as pine cones and leaves for counting and sorting, many activities can be made out of card like in the pictures I have posted on our Instagram page @ theworldistheirclassroom but as the children get older and we are now talking about sitting their IGCSES there's one piece of equipment we are looking to invest in - a microscope!

It states online 'To determine which type of microscope is right for you, it is important to think about what kind of specimen and specimen size you will be observing.'

Hmmm...what might children want to look at? Well, the little ones would probably want to view bits of leaves and insects from the garden as well as hairs and other things they find. (see it here)

Many shops and online companies sell cheap microscopes, along with specimen slides and eye-droppers. Most of these microscopes are usually made out of plastic or have plastic lenses or inferior glass ones. Sadly they are made to create an illusion that your child thinks they are seeing something magnified but it is often a blurry image. I have experienced the same thing with other products marketed at the younger age group such as binoculars. It really puts you off buying something so basic and cheap.

AmScope M162C-2L-PB10 40X-1000X Dual Light Glass Lens Metal Frame Student Microscope + Slides (see it here)

However, children below 9 can struggle to use a high powered compound microscope and it's better for them to use a low powered stereo microscope until they are older. A 20x stereo is brilliant for them to explore things around the house like hairs, insects, sugar, toothbrushes etc. and should provide ours of fun alongside learning how to use this amazing piece of equipment and the names of the parts.

The Apex Practitioner Microscope   (see it here)

So for my KS3/4 older children which microscope should I buy? From the information I have read online, ideally it needs to have a minimum of 3 objective lenses on the turret, a sub-stage condenser and Iris Aperture, an under-stage light with a control to vary its intensity, a movable stage and caliper with x and y axis moment, and coarse and fine focus controls. The maximum magnification which is the eyepiece lens magnification x the objective lens should allow magnification up to 800x. The body and most of the attached body parts should be made of metal and the base should be sturdy and heavy.

Have you invested into a microscope for your children? Are there any you would recommend?