Essential Science Equipment: Digital Microscope

Without a doubt, one of the best pieces of equipment we’ve purchased for our homeschool has been our digital microscope. It has been a very good investment and we use it frequently. We love hands-on science and the microscope fits right in.

How to choose a microscope for home use.

Here’s what we love about our home microscope:

–It has a screen, which is so much easier that looking through the little scope/lens, especially for younger kids.

–It is a serious microscope! This will take us through our entire homeschooling journey, beyond high school even.

–You can easily hook it up to a t.v. screen for even better viewing.

–It has a digital camera! You can use the touchscreen with built-in stylus to take a photo of what you’re viewing. It saves to the included memory card and can easily be transferred to your computer. 

–It’s sturdy.

 

how to choose a homeschool microscope

–It has a hard-shell carrying case with super duper padding inside to protect it during transport. We’ve taken it onsite to a pond study and I was confident that transporting it would not result in breakage.

{This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item from Amazon using this link, you pay the same price but I get a small commission to buy more science stuff. Thank you!}

This is the Celestron LCD Digital Microscope.

I also recommend getting a box of blank microscope slides and square glass covers. The covers prevent small objects from sliding off or lighter objects from being blown away while moving the slides to the microscope. 

The depression slides are great for liquids. They have a slight indentation in the center of each slide to nicely hold a few drops of liquid. We’ve used this for looking at pond water, as well as blood (you know you have a true homeschool friend when she offers to check her blood sugar levels to manage her diabetes, conveniently during science time).

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Free scientific method printables.

 

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Homeschool Curriculum : What We Love This Year!

If you start your homeschool year around September–good news! You’re in the home stretch in February. It’s a great time to take stock of your homeschool curriculum. What did you start with?  What’s really working, sparking learning and going well? What are you just slogging away at, trying to make it through? 

Homeschool Curriculum  What We Love This Year

Here’s what’s working for us so far this school year.  [Read more...]

PBS Kids Lab Brings Advanced Technology to Kids’ Learning Games

Love Bug, upon arrival at PBS Kids Headquarters, enthusiastically greets Big Bird.

There are a lot of free things out there that you can use to teach your kids stuff.  In fact, combing through them all just might qualify as a part time job.   A few are true gems.  The PBS Kids website, for our family and so many others, has always been one of those gems.

So imagine how excited the Creek kids were (and me, too) to spend part of the day at PBS Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia recently.  Along with some other awesome bloggers and their offspring, the talented folks at PBS showed us how PBS Kids is using new technology to enhance learning.

PBS Kids was celebrating.  And it was a big, darn deal.  They were launching a new site, PBS Kids Lab.  We are talking major, interactive stuff:  new games that work not only on PC’s and laptops, but on tablets, smart phones, and interactive whiteboards.  The games target kids ages three to eight and they can do things like  use a microphone to manipulate a Curious George counting game.  They can play another game with the famous monkey that utilizes a video camera. By jumping around, they are manipulating bouncing balls and counting them as they go.

The Queen Bee and Firefly try out the Cat in the Hat's Sketch-a-mite game on an interactive whiteboard

The list goes on with so many more games, to include all the favorite PBS characters, including Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, Super Why, The Cat in the Hat and more.

The PBS folks reminded us that all of these new games are research based, as well as correlated with educational state standards.  Now I’m the type of homeschooler who doesn’t worry too much about state standards. They’re nice and all, but I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all education and that’s another post for another day.  What did impress me, is the amount of time and energy that PBS puts into research, into planning their shows around specific skill-based items for kids to learn.  Your child needs to learn to tell time, to count by tens, to create patterns, to add and subtract?  No problem, there’s a (PBS Kids Lab) ap for that.

Jeremy Roberts, Technology Consultant to PBS, demonstrates the Monkey Jump game, where the player, via web cam, controls Curious George's movements, thus producing objects to count.

Take a look at their page of games.  The tabs across the top allow you to filter it by skill, age, which device your child will play on and even which PBS show it will feature.  So if my 7 year old needs to work on addition and I want him to use my mobile phone so that, say, he can work on this while we are waiting for his sister at her ballet class, the PBS Kids Lab website will generate a list of games that fit those three criteria.

The PBS Kids Lab games are free, just like those on the original PBS Kids website.

Moms love PBS characters, too. JavaMom and I pose with Super Why and Curious George.

Disclaimer:  I was invited to a blogger preview at PBS Headquarters to learn more about PBS Kids Lab.  I was not required to write about this on my blog or compensated in any way for this review.  I did however, receive a very cool Cat in the Hat red and white striped hat.  It is mine and I do not have to share it with my children. They took all my stickers and Super Why tatoos. But the hat is mine. All mine.