I am sorta obsessed with looking at things under a microscope and especially in love with tiny, micro-organisms. (So into it, I am, that I might have been known to shove my kids out of the way, so I could look in the microscope.)
I don't quite understand my fascination.
Maybe because they are always there, these little creatures, living full lives - eating, resting, reproducing - and we ignore them. It makes me wonder if we are the micro-organisms to something so much bigger and are completely clueless.
Something tells me we are.
Watching a euglena or diatom or the best, an amoeba move through a few drops of water is relaxing and lulls me into a meditation on notions of smallness and importance and life forces and ... anyways, let's just say, it is pretty amazing.
If you have not tried this with your kids, I encourage it with excited clapping and fist pumping! Be sure to try water from different sources: lakes, ponds, the ocean, turtle and fish tanks, still water from your yard, etc.
Here is the equipment we have:
Our microscope is a duoscope - which means you can look at things lit from above (something opaque, like a penny or rock) and you can look at things lit from below (slides and anything translucent). It is heavy weight and focuses like a charm.
And the most brilliant thing ever invented, that I only just learned about, that has changed my life, is the demo slide!
Holy Macaroni! I have spent hours looking under a microscope at prepared slides of pond water only to find a few things. But with a demo slide - you get a packed area with loads of micro-organisms.
The idea is that you load the little tube up with some nasty pond water (a bit of sand or green algae is great, because little things are many times connected). Cap the tube, tie a string to it and twirl it thought the air.
Who knew science could be so fun? Kids love this part.
By using centrifugal force, all the little micro-organisms get thrown down into the very thin end of the tube. That is the "slide" and it will blow your mind when you peek under the microscope at a whole world you might not have thought about much.
We bought ours from Amazon and love them so much. I am surprised that they are not included in kid's microscope sets, since they really facilitate successful viewing.
PLEASE share if you have other microscoping tips to share!
I want to send someone a demo slide! Leave a comment and friend me on Facebook here. I will do a drawing next week. This is the cheapest giveaway ever - but hey, it is fun :)