Summary of Post

  • There isn’t one best microscope–the question is what’s best for your family
  • Dr. Robin provides specific questions to ask yourself when making the decision
  • The Microscopy Badge is coming up!
  • Vlog entry from Dr. Robin

How to Choose a Microscope

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The problem with microscopes

A microscope seems like the perfect tool to crack the code of the tiny world. Except, then you hit the internet, and suddenly you’re drowning in technical jargon and a million different microscopes. Ugh.

As a doctor who also a homeschool parent, I feel your pain. But fear not! This post is here to cut through the confusion and help you pick the perfect microscope for your family. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and find the microscope that will spark a lifelong love of discovery!

Make sure to watch the video!

There’s a lot more content in the video:

  • What you need to know about slides
  • A couple options under $20
  • An introduction to Dr. Robin’s own microscope along with her advice about what you need and what you don’t

There isn’t one right microscope

Determine your budget. There are a lot of options in every price range.

Not everyone needs every feature. Knowing your budget will help you narrow down your options. A Foldscope is used by scientists around the world and costs $10.

Decide what you’ll be doing with the microscope.

Will you be looking at the outsides of bugs? You’d want a stereo microscope. Investigating microbes in pond scum? A compound microscope will work better for you.

Is this a microscope that will sit on a desk or will it get moved?

Some microscopes are easier to move or store than others. Unless you have the space to always have it out, you’ll want to have another plan.

What will be the light source?

Some microscopes marketed for families rely on sunlight and a mirror. Make sure your microscope has bright, even illumination.

How easy is it to find something?

If you haven’t used a mechanical stage before, you might think they are a luxury. Once you have, you probably won’t ever want to go without one. It lets you use knobs to smoothly hunt around the slide.

How easy is it to focus?

Having both coarse and fine focus knobs that turn smoothly makes it easy to get your subject nice and clear. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to get your microbe in focus!


Not sure what to do with that microscope?

Join Dr. Robin’s School for access to the summer Microscopy Badge!

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Vlog Post: Let’s Get Honest about Microscopes

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Give your kids a solid science foundation.