Scoping Things Out

Much to our parents’ chagrin, my husband and I still have “stuff” stashed in their attics on the other side of the country. My Mom and Dad boast my Barbie dolls. My in-laws house lots of LEGOs. Occasionally, our parents bring an extra suitcase brimming with childhood treasures: Fisher-Price campers, American Girl Dolls and the like.

My husband’s latest endeavor is convincing his mom to bring his childhood microscope, especially since our boys are budding scientists. For some investigations, our assortment of magnifying glasses just won’t do, and purchasing a new microscope is a big investment. Recognizing a microscope migration may not happen immediately, I discovered a near-term substitute on Colleen Kessler’s Raising Lifelong Learners blog: the Carson Microbrite Pocket Microscope.

The Carson Microbrite arrived yesterday ready to go. It included the required batteries, and the instructions were easy to follow. You can adjust the magnification from 20 times to 40 times with a wheel, then focus with the lever. Press and hold a button, allowing the LED light to illuminate your specimen. The kit includes two slides with covers and a detachable slide “stage.”

We took it outside for a test drive yesterday morning. A roly-poly (aka pill bug) provided the most amusement. Magnifying him 40 times, we could watch his legs wriggle and his mouth parts move. Observing a flower, we could see the presence of pollen. We also looked at rocks, dirt, pine tree parts. This microscope’s portability makes it perfect for outdoor play or hikes: no need to wait until you are home to look at your specimens.

I found our Microbrite for under $10 on Amazon. At that price, it’s a perfect addition to your science tools.

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8 Replies to “Scoping Things Out”

  1. Thanks for linking to me, Kirsten! I’m glad you and the boys are enjoying the microscope, too. It was funny… I opened your blog post as I sat here next to my kids as they looked first at the geode and rose quartz chunks they found through our Micro Brite, then looked at pieces we broke off through our regular microscope. Great minds think alike… 😉

  2. Cool! I dragged home some boxes from storage over Easter break. I’m sifting through old stories that I wrote when I was child. Once my office is done I’m going back to storage to get my old desk!

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