Microscopes for Children - Exploring the Microscopic World

The mechanical stage and objective lenses of a compound microscope
The mechanical stage and objective lenses of a compound microscope | Source

The Microscope - A Route to a Hidden World

A microscope is a wonderful device that enables children to view a normally invisible world. There is a mysterious and marvellous universe beyond the Earth that attracts the attention and imagination of many people. There is also a fascinating world much closer to us, however: the microscopic world. A microscope lets us peer into this world.

Microscopes vary widely in magnification power, features, quality and cost. It's fun and educational to have a microscope in the home, but some care is needed in choosing a suitable instrument. Once a microscope is bought, specimens placed on slides can be magnified and viewed.

Prepared microscope slides obtained from a science supply company are useful. Homemade slides are the most interesting type for children, though. It's fun for them to collect objects and to see what they look like when magnified. Children are especially interested in living specimens, such as creatures in a drop of pond water. Observing the appearance and behaviour of microscopic creatures in ponds is my students' favourite use for a microscope, and it's mine too!

A Magnified View of Pond Water Life

Types of Microscopes

There are several kinds of microscopes. The type that is used in schools and homes is generally the compound microscope, which is also known as the compound light microscope. A compound microscope uses two lenses to magnify an object - the ocular lens and the objective lens.

A digital microscope may be an attractive option for some people. It sends its images to a computer, where they can be viewed, edited and saved. It's very important to examine the features of a digital microscope before buying one. The best digital microscopes are compound microscopes with added features. Some are simply webcams with an ability to magnify an image, however. The final image may or may not be of good quality.

Professional scientists often use electron microscopes as well as compound microscopes. Electron microscopes are far more powerful than light microscopes and produce images with much greater magnifications and resolutions. The microscopes are very large and expensive, however, and can only be afforded by large institutions like universities. In addition, they must be used under special conditions to reach their full potential.

Resolution of a Microscope

"Resolution" of a microscope is the ability to show that what appears to be one point in an image is actually made of two closely positioned points.

A compound microscope
A compound microscope | Source

Parts of a Compound Microscope

The numbers in the descriptions below refer to the parts of a typical compound microscope, as shown in the photo above.

  1. Eyepiece or Ocular Lens: used to view a specimen; the lens in the eyepiece magnifies the specimen
  2. Revolving nosepiece: used to move the desired objective lens into position above the slide
  3. Objective lens: magnifies the specimen; each objective lens is attached to the nosepiece and has a different magnification
  4. Coarse adjustment: focuses the image when the low power objective lens is being used
  5. Fine adjustment: focuses the image when the medium or high power objective lens is being used; the coarse and fine adjustment are sometimes located in different positions on a microscope, but the fine adjustment knob is always smaller in size than the coarse adjustment knob
  6. Stage: the specimen is placed here; a hole in the stage allows light to reach the specimen
  7. Light source
  8. Condenser lens and diaphragm: the condenser lens concentrates the light on the specimen and the diaphragm lets the user control the amount of light that actually travels through the specimen
  9. Mechanical Stage: holds the slide on the stage and contains knobs that can be turned to move the slide; not all microscopes have a mechanical stage

Paramecium in Pond Water

Choosing a Compound Microscope for Home Use

In general, the more features that a microscope has, or the better their quality, the more expensive the microscope. The microscope that's purchased for a home depends not only on its features but also on the family budget and the age of the children in the family.

I've run science labs with elementary as well as high school students. The younger children are very excited to see magnified objects and aren't concerned about how many features a microscope has. As long as the image is sharp enough to see and appreciate and the focusing knobs work smoothly and accurately, they're happy! They do enjoy seeing highly magnified objects, but only if the image is clear and is easy to keep in focus. Older children and teenagers are sometimes more demanding in regards to a microscope's abilities.

It may be tempting to buy the cheapest microscope that's available, but very inexpensive microscopes aren't likely to produce the great image quality or last as long as higher quality microscopes. They are also more likely to develop problems that require microscope adjustments, such as focusing knobs that must be held in place in order for an image to stay sharp.

How to Use a Microscope

Illumination For Home Microscopes

Some microscopes have mirrors instead of light sources. I would never recommend that anyone buy one of these, despite their relatively cheap price. A microscope with its own light source is much more convenient to use and produces a much brighter image.

There are four main types of microscope illumination - LED, halogen, tungsten and fluorescent. Fluorescent illumination is generally used only in professional research microscopes, but the other types of illumination systems are found in microscopes designed for homes and schools as well as in professional microscopes.

A Hydra Feeding - A Magnified View

Types of Microscope Illumination

LED (Light Emitting Diode) illumination is popular in microscopes designed for home use, with good reason. It produces a bright, white light, yet the light housing stays cool. The diodes last for a long time - 50,000 to 100,000 hours, depending on the diode. They may never need to be replaced. In addition, the diodes draw low power, so an LED microscope can run on batteries. This means that children can use the microscope anywhere in a home or even outdoors.

Halogen bulbs also produce a bright, white light. However, the light produces heat and may kill living specimens such as pond water creatures if they are viewed for too long. Some halogen bulb microscopes have a rheostat. This is a very useful feature, since it enables the light intensity to be decreased if desired.

Tungsten (incandescent) bulbs are an older type of microscope illumination but are still used. They are not my favourite type of light system for microscopes. The bulb housing gets unpleasantly hot to touch and the heat can kill living organisms. The image may have a yellow cast, although this probably won't bother children. Another problem is that tungsten microscope bulbs don't have a standard form; they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It may not be easy to find replacement bulbs over time. (With good care and a good instrument, a microscope will last for years.)

If someone does buy a microscope that uses tungsten bulbs, I suggest that they buy multiple bulbs while their microscope model is current and keep these bulbs safe for future use. As with any microscope, the instruction manual for the microscope and a record of the part numbers should also be kept in a safe place. The manual should describe how to take out an old bulb and put in a new one.

Chloroplasts Moving in the Cells of Elodea, an Aquatic Plant

Calculating The Total Magnification Power of a Microscope

Ocular Lens Magnification
Objective Lens Magnification
Total Magnification
10X
4X
40X
10X
10X
100X
10X
40X
400X
10X
100X
1000X
10X
200X
2000X

Microscope Magnification

Most ocular lenses have a 10X magnification, which means that they magnify a specimen ten times. A common group of objective lenses on a microscope consists of a 4X, a 10X and a 40X lens. Sometimes a 100X objective lens is included. Some microscopes even have a 200X objective lens.

The magnifications of the ocular lens and the objective lens are multiplied to calculate the total magnification provided by a microscope. For example, the combination of a 10X ocular lens and a 40X objective lens would give a total magnification of 400X.

For children, the 4X, 10X and 40X objective lenses will be the most useful and will create some fascinating images. A 100X objective might be useful, too. Focusing the image at very high power is sometimes tricky, however. The image is also darker than at low power and may not be as sharp. On some microscopes, the 100X objective lens is an oil immersion lens. This type of lens produces a sharper image than a normal 100X lens.

Stentor, a microscopic pond creature, as seen under a microscope
Stentor, a microscopic pond creature, as seen under a microscope | Source

Slides and Cover Slips

The specimen to be magnified is placed on a rectangular piece of glass or plastic known as a slide. A square of glass or plastic called a cover slip or coverslip is placed on top of the specimen.

Oil Immersion Lenses

Oil immersion lenses are designed to be used with a special kind of oil called immersion oil. A drop of oil is placed on the cover slip that is on top of a specimen and then the objective lens is lowered into the oil. The oil interface improves the resolution and sharpness of the image.

Immersion oil must never be used with a lens that isn't designed to be used with the oil. Immersion lenses are sealed to protect them from oil damage; regular lenses aren't. The word "oil" is generally written on lenses that are used in oil immersion.

Oil must be thoroughly removed from a lens surface after each use with a piece of soft lens paper. This type of paper won't scratch the lens. Young children may not have the patience to do this, but enthusiastic older children and teenagers might.

For a keen naturalist or a budding biologist, a microscope with a 100X objective and the extra effort required to get a sharp image at high magnification could be very worthwhile. Oil immersion lenses do work without oil, but the image isn't as good as the one that would be formed with oil.

An interesting view of a binocular microscope
An interesting view of a binocular microscope | Source

Two Features to Consider When Buying a Home Microscope

Monocular or Binocular Head

Monocular microscopes are fine for general use. Binocular microscopes may be more comfortable than monocular microscopes during long periods of viewing. With a bit of practice, though, most people can look through a monocular microscope with one eye while keeping the other eye open. This is a great technique to develop because it reduces eye strain and fatigue.

Binocular microscopes aren't the best choice for a young child. When someone uses a binocular microscope (or a pair of binoculars), the brain combines the images seen by each eye to make one image. This system isn't fully functional in small children.

Coarse and Fine Focusing

Modern microscopes usually have "parfocal" lenses. This term means that once an image is focused at low power with the coarse adjustment knob, it will be in focus at higher powers, too. Usually small adjustments to the focus need to be made, however. It's easier to focus at high power with the fine adjustment than with the coarse adjustment. Some less expensive microscopes have only a coarse adjustment.

The coarse adjustment is larger in size than the fine adjustment. The knobs are often located in different places. Some newer systems have a coaxial system, however. In this system the coarse adjustment and the fine adjustment are on the same axis and the same knob. The coarse adjustment wheel is on the outside of the knob and the fine adjustment is on the inside.

Chloroplasts in thyme moss cells as viewed under a microscope. Chloroplasts trap light and carry out photosynthesis.
Chloroplasts in thyme moss cells as viewed under a microscope. Chloroplasts trap light and carry out photosynthesis. | Source

Additional Features to Consider When Buying a Microscope

Mechanical Stage

Using a hand to move a slide in order to look at another part of the specimen works fine at low power. When using a magnification power of 1000X or higher, however, it's very hard for the hands to make the fine movements necessary to reach a specific spot on the slide. A mechanical stage reduces the frustration. This device holds the slide. It has knobs that can be turned to move the slide in small increments.

Disk or Iris Diaphragm

Sometimes the view of a particular specimen is too bright or not bright enough. The disk diaphragm is a circular disk under the stage containing holes of different sizes. The diaphragm can be rotated to put smaller or larger holes into position, thereby controlling the amount of light that reaches the specimen.

How a Paramecium Eats

Preparing Microscope Slides at Home

There are many items that children can collect to look at under a microscope. Sugar, sand, a printed letter on a piece of newspaper, hair, feathers, thread, bits of dead insects, pollen grains, plant parts, moss cells, onion cells, cheek cells, pond water - the list goes on and on. The specimen placed on a microscope slide must be thin enough for at least some light to travel through it.

The specimen on a slide is generally covered with a cover slip. This protects the objective lens from contact with the specimen, helps to hold the specimen in place, flattens it and often improves its appearance under the microscope. A cover slip may not be used in certain situations, such as when the viewer wants to avoid injuring a living and relatively large creature like an insect larva.

Cells from onions are very popular microscope specimens. The cells lining the layers of the onion are easy to obtain and are large.
Cells from onions are very popular microscope specimens. The cells lining the layers of the onion are easy to obtain and are large. | Source

Dry and Wet Mounts

If no liquid is added to the specimen, the prepared slide is known as a "dry mount". Adding a drop of liquid to a specimen often produces a clearer image under a microscope. In this case, the prepared slide is called a "wet mount".

To make a wet mount, once the specimen and liquid have been placed on the slide, the cover slip is lowered on to the specimen from a 45 degree angle. This reduces the chance of air bubbles being trapped under the cover slip. Air bubbles obscure anything that's underneath them on the slide.

Onion Epidermis - How to Make a Wet Mount

Looking at Onion Cells Under a Microscope

Some transparent items, such as onion cells, can be seen most clearly when they are stained. The stain is absorbed by the cell parts, especially the nucleus, increasing their visibility.

To obtain cells from an onion, the onion should be broken into layers. The inner curve of each layer is covered with a thin piece of tissue which can be peeled off by fingers or with tweezers. This tissue should be spread out on a slide. A drop of iodine and a cover slip should then be added. After about three minutes the cells should be nicely stained.

Iodine is readily available in drug stores. Since iodine stains human skin cells as well as onion cells, it might be a good idea for children to wear protective gloves during this exercise.

How to Prepare a Stained Slide of Cheek Cells

Examining Cheek Cells Under a Microscope

The cells lining the inside of the cheeks are attached very loosely to the cheek and are constantly being shed. If the lining is rubbed (not scraped) with the flat end of a clean toothpick, cheek cells can be collected. The material on the toothpick can be smeared on a slide and a wet mount made with a drop of stain.

The best stain for cheek cells is methylene blue, which can be bought at pet or aquarium stores. A 1% solution is used to stain cells. This stain is very popular and is widely used in schools. It's not considered to be dangerous in small quantities, although it does stain skin and clothes. However, methylene blue is toxic at high concentrations.

In a home situation, an adult should apply the stain to the slide containing a child's cheek cells and the methylene blue bottle should be kept out of the reach of children. Once again, it's a good idea for a child to wear gloves.

Examining their own cheek cells is a very worthwhile activity for children. They are often excited to see cells that have come from their body!

Biological Stains

Since our skin is made of cells, both skin and microscope specimens can be coloured by biological stains. Children should use safe stains under safe conditions.

Stained cells of a root tip
Stained cells of a root tip | Source

Prepared Slides

Prepared slides that are purchased from a store or science supply company can be both interesting and educational. Although my students prefer to make their own slides, they are happy to look at prepared slides when it's either too difficult or impossible to make the equivalent slide in class. The slides are usually stained to emphasis certain parts.

Prepared slides are sold individually and in collections. When buying a collection, it's important to discover what slides are in the collection. Some may not be appropriate for a particular child. For example, there may be too many plant slides compared to animal slides, or vice versa. There may also be some slides that a child or parent may find objectionable, such as ones made from a dog's body.

Microscopic Hunters in Pond Water

Pond Water Microorganisms

Pond or lake water can be fascinating to examine under a microscope. This is especially true in late spring, summer and early fall when many pond creatures are active.

Adding a bit of sediment from the bottom of the pond or a few leaves of aquatic plants to a container of pond water can increase the variety of organisms seen. Some pond microorganisms spend their lives attached to a surface instead of swimming freely through the water.

Small organisms that aren't microscopic can also be collected from ponds and examined under a microscope. My classes love to look at mosquito larvae, for example. They are so big that often only part of their body fills the screen at low power, but they are very interesting to observe.

Looking at items under a microscope is an educational, enriching and entertaining experience for both children and adults. The enjoyment can last through childhood and into adulthood, as it has for me. The amazement of seeing living things and details that are normally invisible never fades.

A mosquito larva viewed at 40X magnification
A mosquito larva viewed at 40X magnification | Source

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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Comments 48 comments

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 2 years ago

What a Neat Hub, Alicia on Microscopes Everything anyone could ever ask, you have covered in this Wonderful Hub. I also enjoyed the Videos, Very Educational for all ages. My boys had a "Microscope" when they were growing up, and we lived in the country, so they had a wonderful time with it...Always exploring the Environment.

My Votes of Up and all, except for funny go to you!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, b. Malin. Thank you very much for the comment and all the votes! Exploring nature with a microscope is great fun. I can understand why your boys enjoyed it so much!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

If I had my way, which I don't, every parent would buy every child a microscope instead of a video game. I have taught science and I have seen the looks of wonder on the faces of kids when they discover the mysteries of science through a microscope. Great article my friend.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Bill. Yes, those looks of wonder and the excitement that passes around a room as someone describes a pond water creature that they've discovered are great! I agree with your idea about a microscope as a gift instead of a video game, too. Thank you very much for the comment, Bill.


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

I love this! I was an elementary school teacher for 7 years. I think kids would love having one of these at their disposal. Great article!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Victoria! I appreciate your comment. I've taught both elementary and high school students. Whatever their age, the students love using microscopes.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, what a great idea and fabulous hub here dear Alicia! I am going to keep this hub handy to refer to and buy my grands a microscope for sure! They would just be thrilled and fascinated! Your hubs are always really interesting and awesome.

Up and more and sharing.

Have a great evening,

Faith Reaper


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the comment, Faith. I appreciate your votes, your share and all of your kind support very much! I'm sure your grandchildren will enjoy using a microscope if they get one. I hope the rest of the week is a wonderful one for you, Faith.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

What a great comprehensive hub about microscopes Alicia. I never realised there were so many different types available for home use. They sure have come a long way since I was a child and even my children. My kids did have a self-illuminating one at least, but mine only had mirrors. It was still the best 'toy' I ever had. I was forever looking at things I found in the garden under it. Thank you for all this information. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Jodah. My childhood microscope had a mirror, too. I was so excited when my parents got it for me! It gave me a lot of enjoyment. Thank you very much for the comment and the vote.


mhrussel profile image

mhrussel 2 years ago from Knoxville, TN

Beautifully written!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, mhrussel!


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Oh what fun for kids - learning and playtime all in one :)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

We have a microscope and even I enjoy using it at certain times a well approached hub on using microscopes.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Christy. Yes, using a microscope can be like both playtime and learning time! Thanks for the visit.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment, DDE. Microscopes can definitely be fun for adults as well as children!


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

A great explanation and description of how to use microscopes Alicia. There is so much in the world for children to explore and, as your hub proves, it isn't always the big things that are the most interesting


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Cynthia. I appreciate your comment. The world is certainly a fascinating place to explore!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I use to love microscopes, telescopes too, for that matter. What a perfect guide for anyone who teaches or has kids. They open up worlds of new learning. Shared and all votes +++


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the comment, the votes and the share, Rebecca! A microscope definitely opens up a new world, as you say. It's a wonderful device!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing with us. I'll show this hub to my students. Good job and voted up!

Prasetio


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Prasetio. I appreciate your showing the hub to your students, as well!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

What a great hub Linda. I remember my first microscope when I was a kid. It opens up a whole new world to kids. Really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the microscope. Shared, voted up ,etc..


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks, Bill. Yes, using a microscope is a wonderful way to explore a previously unseen world. Thank you very much for the vote and the share!


kerlund74 profile image

kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

Really interesting. I think a Microscope can be of use for the whole family:) This is a great way to dicover new things together.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I agree, kerlund74. I think a microscope would be useful for the whole family! Thank you for the comment.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Alicia, great hub! I remember giving my nephew a microscope for his birthday, I guess I was hoping he'd give Einstein a run for his money, but alas... It was not to be. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, tobusiness. I appreciate your visit and comment!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Great information about the microscope and how to choose one for children. Interesting and informative hub, voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Vellur!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden

Fantastic hub Alicia, as always! I will have microscope in mind when our grandchildren grows up since I really want them to see nature in every way possible. Inspiring hub with great information!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, thougtforce! I appreciate your visit and your comment very much. I think that it's important that children grow up with a knowledge of nature, whether or not they use a microscope. The microscope can reveal new aspects of nature, though, and add enjoyment.


lupandiomo profile image

lupandiomo 2 years ago from nairobi,kenya.

It reminded me of my high school days and the terminologies like specimen, objective lens,ocular lens,magnification,slides,stains(methylene),name it.I did so well in my Biology course coz i loved the subject so much and am sure that what has really contributed to the high quality of this hub is the fact that you do really enjoy what you do as a teacher and the love from your kids...Good stuff.Thumbs up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the kind comment, lupandiomo! I appreciate it.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

I have always loved the tiny world. There is so much out there to learn, and kids relish it so much. They also enjoy the macro world of photography!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Deb. Yes, with the right equipment macro photography is great fun! Exploring the tiny and the microscope world is fascinating.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I remember spending evenings with my son looking at the stars through his telescope. It is a learning experience. Your post is amazing and well done.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Dianna. I appreciate your kind comment!


ratnaveera profile image

ratnaveera 2 years ago from Cumbum

Thanks for posting this great informative and interesting Hub on Microscope. I really enjoyed the facts and beautiful photos. And this would be really an interesting thing for studying children.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, ratnaveera!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

This makes me miss my old microscope! I had a poor quality microscope at home and thrilled in using a better one during biology classes and have gazed at everything you mention here and more! Thanks for bringing back fond memories. : )


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, vespawoolf. I appreciate your visit!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Well done! An interesting read with loads of useful information. Pinning to my Home Education/Schooling board.

We just bought our oldest grandson a microscope for his 7th birthday. He was so excited about it and I hope we will be buying him a more advanced one when he is a teenager.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the pin, RTalloni! I'm glad your grandson is enjoying using his microscope. That was a great gift for him!


Donna Cook 2 years ago

Hi Alicia, Terrific Hub, especially explaining the oil immersion lens. I had a monocular microscope as a kid and fell in love with the microscopic world! I became a medical laboratory technologist and even like reading pinworm paddles, microscopic urinalysis and blood cell differentials. Any kid that likes science should have access to a microscope.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Donna. I love exploring the microscopic world as well. It's a great activity for children too, as you say. Being a medical laboratory technologist must be an interesting career!


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 5 months ago from Essex, UK

Linda from time to time I tend to look through older hubs rather than just the most recent, and I'm glad I do - otherwise I wouldn't have found this one. For three reasons, this article appeals to me more than almost any other I've read in a very long time:

1) It brings back great memories of childhood, of looking at drops of pond water, at daphnia and cyclops and rotifers and singled celled algae, and looking at onion cells and fly antennae and butterfly wing scales. Pollen grains were especially fruitful - all different shapes. I still have a microscope, but I haven't taken it out of its box for 30 years. I think I will have to do that again. It's time to rediscover the fascination! :)

2) The videos are superb visually, and also the choice of music. Again some of them bring back memories, particularly the pond life videos. As for the film of the amoeba surrounding and digesting an even smaller creature which really doesn't stand a chance, well - I don't think I've ever felt sorry for a single-celled organism before!

3) I actually think this third reason is so important. Children need to be encouraged to take up hobbies which expand their knowledge and feed their enquiring minds. As you say, children can be introduced to a whole new world in a drop of water, and they cannot fail to find that amazing. The appeal of that world has never left me even though, unlike you, my microscope eventually went back into its box. The trick is to feed that appeal so that it gives a lifetime of interest in the natural world. Your article should help encourage a few parents to do just that by introducing their children to this world of the very small.

For all these reasons I will share your article on HubPages and Facebook and Twitter.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for such a detailed, interesting and kind comment, Alun. Thank you for all the shares, too! I agree with all the points that you've raised about the benefits of microscope use very much. Exploring the normally unseen world is fascinating.

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