Buying Student Microscopes: 7 Things to Keep in Mind

The student microscope is one of the most (literally) illuminating tools in the classroom arsenal. Ask anyone what they remember most about high school biology class, and they’ll most likely mention using scopes to observe plants and microorganisms of all shapes and sizes. That’s because educators know that microscopy is an excellent tool for engagement, with research to prove it. Studies show that “hands-on, minds-on” learning can help accelerate education, regardless of a school’s demographics or socioeconomic standing.

In order to take advantage of this powerful pedagogical approach, you’re going to need to invest in a set of classroom-ready microscopes. AmScope offers some of the best microscopes for students of all ages, from kindergarten through grad school (and lifelong learners, too). We’re happy to help you narrow down our selection so you find a model that’s ideal for your unique learning environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started.

  1. The Age or Grade of the Students—Most student microscopes are rated with an age or grade level to indicate the appropriate user age. Scopes designed for elementary-age kids will, of course, be much simpler and will focus on the proper use of a microscope, which can be built upon later. On the other hand, high school microscopes tend to be equipped with features for typical secondary-age concepts, such as dissection.

  2. The Application(s)—The next thing to consider is application. Most microscopes can be used for an array of functions, with one of the most popular student options being the dissection microscope (which falls under the stereo microscope category). These kinds of scopes are best for dissections because they allow you to view relatively large, 3D objects you’re dissecting. Compound microscopes, on the other hand, are commonly used for viewing small and slim objects with high levels of magnification, such as for inspecting plant cells in biology class.

  3. The Size of the Scope and Eyepiece—The size of the microscope itself is also a fairly important consideration when you’re selecting a student scope. Eyepieces that are too large for your students can cause issues, especially if they are expected to be used for prolonged observation. Make sure to consider the size of the microscope itself as well (i.e., maybe you need a kid-friendly microscope for your kindergarten class that little ones can move around or take home) so kids are able to easily adjust the settings as needed.

  1. The Amount it Will Get Used—Are you looking for an occasional-use microscope to pass around the classroom from time to time or a set of full-featured lab scopes that will be used daily? The amount and frequency of use will help you determine what type of scope you’ll need for your classroom. If used daily, you’ll want to invest in a durable commercial-grade style or one labeled for educational use. If you simply want to have one around for sporadic usage, a more basic model will do.

  2. The Environment—In the same vein, the environment where you’re using any scientific tool will help dictate which kind to buy. You may need a scope that’s safe to use around damaging chemicals or in extreme temperatures. Luckily, many student-grade scopes are designed with special materials that allow them to be rugged and stain-resistant in schools.

  3. Special Features—Additionally, you need to consider whether or not you could benefit from any particular extra features. Maybe you need a tech-equipped microscope that connects to Wi-Fi or snaps photos. Maybe you need options that help make your lab more accessible (perhaps by using computers to enlarge images), or maybe you need technology that allows you to observe a specific type of specimen. If you’re looking for a scope that goes above and beyond when it comes to special features, a digital microscope is what you need. Digital microscopes are a great option for hands-on classroom activities because students can use them for more than mere observations. These scopes are great for class projects, live streaming, and capturing images. As an added bonus, digital microscopes are usually compatible with Apple and Google products, so connecting and downloading microscope images and videos is a seamless process. Whether simple or complex, the features on your scope should serve your unique needs.

  4. Type of Microscope—Finally, make sure you understand the common functions of the different types of microscopes before you make your purchase. There are many categories, some of which will be better for your unique application than others. Consider all the options before settling on one kind or contact the experts at AmScope for more info.

Get Buying Advice from the Professionals

If you aren’t sure which student microscope to buy, you can always reach out to AmScope for personalized advice. Our team of experts is on hand to help answer all of your scope-related questions, whether you’re buying for your home schooling needs or an entire school district. Be sure to reach out to us if you would like to be personally paired with the ideal scope.