This educational grade microscope has entirely glass optics, up to a 400X magnification, and lights sources from above and below. The light sources allow it to be used as a compound microscope as well as a dissecting scope. We found we mostly used it as a compound microscope.
The set contains: Microscope, lens paper, 5 blank slides, 4 prepared slides, 1 concavity (well) slide, blank slide labels, cover slips, plastic dropper, two non-toxic stains (red and blue), forceps, plastic test tube, plastic petri dish, teasing needle and instruction manual.
It requires 3 AA Batteries.
Investigate your world. This microscope is used in intermediate and high schools across the country, and is perfectly suitable for homeschooling projects or personal hobbies.
Able to view onion cells, blood cells, skin cells from cheek swabs, microbes living in ponds, and more.
Switch to the above light source to use as a dissecting scope and discover the intricate structures of sea shells, the veins in leaves, or the hairs on insects.
Easy to use, as far as microscopes go. Finding the proper field of vision, or the area in which subjects under the scope come into focus, always takes some practice. We recommend first playing around with the included prepared slides before trying to prepare your own wet slides. The specimens in the prepared slides don’t swim around, making it easier to practice using the scope. Once finding the field of vision and switching between optics feels comfortable, try a wet slide, but don’t be surprised if that takes some time to perfect. Trying to focus on a tiny but fast moving target is an adventure in of itself.
When using wet slides, we did find ourselves wishing the stage was moveable. Alas, it is not, meaning that specimens may occasionally scamper out of view. When this happens, very gently adjust the slide, being careful not to drop it off the side of the stage. Glass slides break into many, many pieces.
Because of the glass slides, we recommend adult supervision for children learning how to use the scope. The slides are not sharp like a piece of broken glass is, but they are still fragile.
The included prepared slides contain samples of salt, pollen, a cheek swab, and paramecium.
The magnification power goes up to 400X. While some microscopes may advertise going to 1000X magnification, we typically find that the clarity is compromised. We would rather see objects clearly than see highly magnified blurs.
Glass optics allow for this scope’s clarity, and we were quite happy with what we could see.
A disc diaphragm adjusts the amount of light coming in from below. If objects are almost-but-not-quite clear, try adjusting the diaphragm, as this often helps. The brightest light is not always best for seeing fine details.
An overhead illumination turns the microscope into a dissecting scope. This is used to see more detail on larger items such as plants, insects, jewelry, or textiles.
The lights used in this product are cool LED lights. Older incandescent lights put off a fair amount of heat, which can burn or cook the specimens on the slide. Many a lab student has asked their teacher “Where did my euglena go? It just disappeared!” It did not disappear. The heat from the lights overheated the water inside the creature, making it expand past the cell’s ability to contain it. The euglena exploded. This should not happen with LED lights.
The lights were switched from incandescent to LED around 2009. We are aware that some retailers are still selling old products with the incandescent lights. If the lights seem to be heating up specimens to an excessive level, we suggest returning the product and repurchasing at a different location.
There is no dust cover or storage case included with this scope, so be sure to pack it carefully if taking along on a trip. We suggest wraping it in a towel before packing.
- Do not submerge optics in an attempt to clean them. This can trap water, or introduce mineral deposits inside the lens, making things worse.
- Slides can be carefully washed with hot water and soap and left to dry for another use. Distilled water should be used as a rinse after cleaning to help keep any mineral deposits or streaking from occuring on the slides.
- Move the scope gently, so as not to jostle the optic lenses.
Parts and Pieces
Additional slides are always nice. Here’s a great set of prepared slides by AmScope.
Blank slides are also available.
This kit includes glass slides, which are fragile. Instruct children to be careful when using the slides.