Homeschooling high school STEM means acquiring equipment for the job or sharing the load with other families or a co-op. At our house, we like to invest big in our STEM materials, so that our teens can explore at their own pace. That’s what homeschooling is all about, after all. You can survey all the microscope options at Homeschool Microscope Lessons. Today I’m sharing an easy choice with How to Use a Portable Microscope for Homeschooling High School STEM.
Disclaimer: I received the uHandy Microscope sets in order to write this review and I was compensated for my time. Rest assured that I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliate links. Thanks for your support!
Although we offer up lots of STEM resources and I always encourage others to do the same, microscopes can be a huge investment.
I love a good digital microscope and if you can find a good one that is portable?
All the better!
uHandy Mobile Microscope Kits bring a lot of functionality to a simple interface that can be used with your cell phone or tablet to produce quality microscope images.
Using a Mobile Microscope for High School STEM
I get a lot of questions about how to teach high school science.
Families want to know what is good enough, whether or not their teens are thinking about a STEM field but especially if they are.
One of the most popular questions is what about a microscope?
Do we have to have one?
Is it worth it?
Typically, a study of biology in high school will include microscopy.
It’s one unit in the entire course, but it’s helpful for your teens to have their own equipment.
Plus, I’m all about exploration in the high school years.
A mobile microscope lets you take your exploring on the go and you can collect specimens along the way.
When it comes to high school microscopy, you are looking for the experience of collecting, making slides, and observing organic items like cells, protozoa, and other biological matter.
To reach this goal, you need a microscope that can magnify enough to see the objects clearly.
The uHandy Mobile Microscope is an affordable way to reach this goal.
Benefits of a uHandy Mobile Microscope
There are plenty of choices on going digital with your microscope. uHandy offers great features with a mobile design.
- Cost Effective– Often digital microscope models are less expensive than their light microscope counter parts.
- Easier to use with more than one child- because the image comes upon a monitor (cell phone, tablet)- rather than having to see the object only through the lens one at a time.
- Observe objects too large to fit on the stage– Some models allow you to take the camera/magnifier off of its base and “scope on a rope” is a lot of fun for kids!
- Magnifies at low and high power – like a light microscope, 10x, 60x, up to 200x or 1000x is available in various models
- Adjusting the intensity of the light is an option– which is not always present on an affordable light microscope for home use.
- No worries about driving an objective lens through the slide on high power– You don’t get the feel of working through an ocular lens (the tube/lens at the top of a microscope), but it is safer when someone gets careless.
- The lens cap acts as a petri dish– so you can drop pond water right on the lens for observation
- Includes collecting equipment– your observations rely on collecting specimens and there are petri dishes, collecting vials, tweezers, etc for gathering wet and dry media
- Capable of handling traditional slides– using the light box and the slide holder, so you can use it at home with prepared slides or slides you make
- Unique notebooks and specimen storage stickers– which are easy to use and allow you to collect on the go where collecting is permitted. You can also observe over again with items that can go on the stickers.
- Portable– uHandy will travel with you and encourage you to explore on the go.
Observing Objects with a uHandy Mobile Microscope
One of the reasons I love microscopes is to observe snowflakes.
It’s a tricky business!
You need to keep your equipment cold and it needs to stay cold even with a light on.
I get great results with traditional microscopes, but they are focused only on a portion of the snowflake.
My personal challenge with the uHandy microscope was to capture a snowflake with the low power lens.
After all, everyone needs a goal.
My first attempt was a good reminder that the best results come from a single layer of an object.
Translation: Too many snowflakes together look like a pile of ice under a microscope.
So, I went back to a trusty method of getting a single snowflake on the end of a small paintbrush and laying it on a cold piece of dark paper.
The darker, the better, but I had purple on hand and I had to act quickly in a winter in upstate NY without a lot of snow.
The image was taken with the low power microscope and gives a close up look of the entire snowflake.
You can observe more traditional things like:
- insect wings
- pond water
You can look at dry and wet mounts and you have an easy place to store your specimens.
How to Use the uHandy Mobile Microscope
In this video, I demonstrate how to use the uHandy Mobile microscope in both low and high magnification.
These little kits back a big punch!
Discount for uHandy Mobile Microscopes
Great news! uHandy is generously offering a discount to my readers. You can find these magnificent quick result microscopes at Amazon and the discount codes are listed for you below.
uHandy Mobile Microscope Duet (Starting from 1/10 to 2/6)
$129.95 -> $99
Amazon Promo Code: BSWDUET22
uHandy Mobile Microscope: Aquatic Adventure (Starting from 1/10 to 2/6)
$32.95 -> $28.99
Amazon Promo Code: BSWAQUA22
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Microscopic Marvels Online Course
An affordable, year long course devoted to the study of microscopy through hands on observation, research, and scientific journaling. Just $67 for a high school, college prep microscope course that is friendly to out of the box and neurodivergent teens.