How to get your kids into optics

 

 

As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts, my wife and I are always looking for ways to get Ethan, our son, into optics, mainly telescopes and microscopes. I want to write this short post because I think we’ve found several methods to get him to develop an interest in this field. The first thing we had to do, even before we bought a very basic microscope model, was to explain to him several physics notions. I’m not telling you to do the same, but I found that it was useful for us to tell him how light traveled across the universe and on Earth, and let him know a bit about lenses, lasers, and other resources.

The internet is filled with many websites that you can use to do a bit of research on this topic. For instance, I discovered that there is something called The Optical Society and that there’s a site where one can go through some information regarding activities and experiments you can perform at home to develop the skills and curiosity of your child, in this sense. All of these notions might come in handy if your kid is fascinated by science and would maybe like to join a science fair in the future.

As I said, we started by talking to Ethan and telling him everything we knew about the speed of light, how you could control it, bend it, and reflect it. The equipment we needed was basic because we only used several mirrors and a magnifying glass to show him how lenses work. Therefore, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on all sorts of gimmicks, particularly if your child isn’t yet into this kind of stuff. All kids are, to some extent, interested in the universe and the world around them and that’s what my wife and I took advantage of as Ethan is keen on learning a lot about microscopic items, microscopic life, and stars and other planets. You can use pretty much anything you might already have in your home, such as a video projector, a photo camera, reading glasses, binoculars, and of course, more advanced devices such as a telescope and a microscope.

I’m going to be honest, and say that we didn’t feel prepared to invest in a telescope in the beginning because we didn’t know whether or not our son would like the field. That’s why we borrowed one from our family friend to see if he would want to experiment with it. Fortunately, he liked using it right off the bat. We waited for a clear night to go out and look at the stars together. I can’t tell you how thrilled he was when I started explaining all the constellations he had already seen with the naked eye. I’ll tell you more about our tries in future posts, and I hope you’ll find them useful.

What is a fair price for a microscope for beginners?

 

 

Recently, I told you about how my family and I managed to get a new microscope for our young son, Ethan. These things can cost a pretty penny, I’ll tell you. I decided to write something about the whole decision-making process because it was rather difficult for us to make up our mind on a particular unit specifically because so many of the ones we kept coming across were extremely expensive.

Of course, what expensive means depends on your own budget, but all I can say is that we weren’t prepared to make a super-serious investment just yet. I found a great website where several models of microscopes had been detailed and reviewed and with the help of this resource, I came across the AmScope M158C-E.

Initially, when we decided to buy it, it cost about one hundred and twenty bucks, which was a bit too much. Fortunately, we were patient enough to wait a little longer and check out some of the prices at online retail websites. Soon enough, we found it on Amazon for almost a hundred dollars, which is an incredible price point if you ask me.

In my opinion and my wife’s as well, we practically had no other chance of getting a good-quality microscope with an integrated camera and a connectivity feature to our computer or laptop. We don’t know that much detail about optics, in general, but we are aware of how to use a microscope and a telescope. For us, this product was an upgrade from a very basic unit that was intended for the use of children.

If you’re resolute on spending as little money as possible, perhaps you ought to consider a toy instead of a real microscope. AmScope has another model destined for kids, and I’ve seen that it costs about eighty-five dollars. Again, this is a terrific price, but you won’t get the same functionalities as the ones of the M158C-E, in that the AmScope Student can’t be connected to a camera. Nonetheless, it might do wonders for an enthusiastic beginner because it comes with a generous kit composed of blank slides, as well as a book titled The World of The Microscope.

The best way to choose a microscope that works great and does what you expect it to do is to take some time and do a bit of research. Find out what other buyers just like you are saying in terms of pricing and whether or not they consider it too high. If you have several hours available on the weekend, be sure to check out the rating system made available by some websites. Why not go on Reddit or any other forum and ask some other microscope rookies just like you?

What’s the best microscope for kids (according to my family)

 

 

Now that Ethan, my little boy, has learned the basics of using a microscope, I thought about writing a post about how we managed to get a good model for our kid. My wife and I went through a lot of trouble to discover the right unit for the knowledge levels of my son, in that we’re only looking at the picture with the viewpoint of adults who have used such a device before. That’s what made it so hard for us to find the perfect model, at least in the beginning.

The older one we had up until recently was a My First Lab Duo-Scope that didn’t need too much work on the part of Ethan. He quickly learned how to use it, and its sturdy construction was a bonus as kids tend to be rather clumsy now and then. What I like the most about this microscope is that it’s not a toy, which is why you can actually use it to look at coins, leaves, orange cells, skin cells, and so on. The fact that it comes with a 50-piece accessory kit is another advantage that sets it aside from the rest of the competition.

Since his skills were progressing at a fast pace, we soon realized that we would have to replace the microscope sooner than later. What we did was sell it on a used items website to another family just like us. It was a high-quality microscope that can do wonders for kids aged 5 to 7, in my opinion, and even for older children if they have no prior experience with ‘playing’ with optics.

The next model we chose was an AmScope M158C-E. I had been reading about this company for some time, and I was impressed that there was a business that manufactured microscopes in the United States of America. I decided to give this model a go because you have the ability to connect it to a computer. Nothing beats seeing the pictures on a larger screen, especially if my son and I can print screen them. What can I say about it? It’s great, although it’s clearly at a higher level than the model I was mentioning at the beginning of the post. It also makes an excellent option for people who teach biology and other fields, I guess, but I wouldn’t know about that other than the fact that it’s been a great help both to my wife and me. Of course, what we like the most is the option to hook it up to a laptop or computer, depending on what we have at our disposal. As you can see, we’re pretty excited about this microscope, and I’m already thinking if we’re not way more excited than Ethan.

Deciding between a WiFi and a USB microscope

 

 

As you know, I’m passionate about microscopes and science, in general. Recently, I decided to get a small, handheld microscope that I could use wherever my adventures might take me. I find it quite cumbersome to carry my heavy full-size compound microscope into the garden particularly because I have to do the same with my laptop so that I’m able to take some pictures of plants and bugs.

Since most handheld models are budget-friendly, I thought I should give one a try. I’m fully aware of the fact that these units have nothing on the image quality of full-size versions, but I have to be honest and say that I also ought to consider the many advantages they offer. Using such a compact device is a net plus if you’re focused on portability.

From what I have noticed, very few models come with a built-in WiFi module. Unfortunately, what this means is that if you buy a USB microscope, you’ll have to eventually go out and get a wireless adapter so that you are capable of using it with your tablet or mobile device of choice. The Dino-Lite WiFi adapter is one of these products and you can find it on the official website of the manufacturing brand.

I don’t know how much it costs because I’m not keen on the idea of getting first a USB microscope and then buying an adapter separately. I find it somehow counterproductive and a waste of good time.

I devoted some hours to researching this topic online. In the end, I managed to discover a model that’s manufactured by Celestron which, if you’re a science aficionado like me, you’ve probably heard about before. The company is one of the largest in the world and has been an ever-growing business in the area of producing both telescopes and top-notch microscopes. So, when I discovered their Micro WiFi Microscope, I have to say that I was pretty excited.

Although the unit isn’t an exceptional choice if what you have on your mind is getting a microscope with an outstanding magnification capability, it’s certainly good for small tasks such as looking at insects, electronics, and other larger items. The product can increase the size of the samples by up to 80 times tops. What I find it really exciting about it is that it can work with up to three mobile devices at the same time as long as the range is up to thirty feet. I have a relative who can’t leave his home, and so this would help him see what I’m looking at in the garden. I plan to make the most of his weekends and get him as entertained as possible.

The only thing that I find a bit off-putting about the model is its price as it costs over two hundred dollars. I’ll probably buy it next month, though.