Pocket microscope + camera = awesome!

Yesterday we got a little pocket microscope with its own built-in light that runs off a watch battery. It really does fit in a pocket and works beautifully. Best of all, this pocket microscope was less than $15.

This morning Moomin asked if we could take a picture of what we were seeing through the microscope. It turned out that my digital camera lens fit perfectly onto the eyepiece. So, that’s how at 7am this morning I was making a cardboard tube, for a sleeve that would hold the lens and the scope together. A little precarious, but it worked. Here’s what the cardboard lens sleeve looked like, along with the scope:


We took photos of skin, sand, salt, hair, a starfish, my tongue, and up my nose.

Moomin remarked on this photo of salt and a hair on a black desktop that it was “natural abstract art”. I agree!

Salt and hair

We made a hay infusion and set it out in the sun. We have read a few chapters of The Microbe Hunters together, the one on Leeuwenhoek, a bit on Spallazani, and on into Pasteur, so maybe tonight we can do the hay infusion and some yeast viewing. If we can see any action with this 20-40x scope, then maybe the video camera will work too!

How to make a hay infusion

1) Collect some water from a pond, ditch, lake, stream, or some rainwater. Tap water usually doesn’t work as well. Half of a small cup or jar is enough.
2) Put a little handful of dried grass in the water and make sure it’s nice and wet.
3) Let it sit out in the sun for a week or so. It will get dark, scummy, and smelly! Like fetid “sun-tea”.
4) Look at a few drops of the water under a microscope. There will be lots of microbes! You may see amoebas, parameciums, and euglena! I know it’s really amoebae, paramecia, etc. But “amoebas” sounds nicer.
5) Do not drink the water! Wash your hands.

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