DIY Microscope: See Nature’s Secrets

DIY iPhone microscope.
DIY iPhone microscope.

If there is one piece of equipment to make you feel like a scientist, it has to be a microscope. There is something exciting about being able to see the hidden secrets of an object, the minutiae that are not easily visible with just the naked eye. The lineage of the microscope dates back to the first century, when people invented eye glass pieces that made objects appear larger than they were. Fast-forward hundreds of years and now we have a variety of  microscopes in all shapes and sizes–from compound microscopes to scanning electronic microscopes.

Microscopes are great tools to engage children in science. Using one elicits a sense of curiosity in a child and allows them to feel like a REAL scientist using a REAL piece of scientific equipment. Unfortunately high-quality microscopes can be costly, and those that require a power source can only be used indoors.

But don’t worry, because there is a simple solution to your microscope woes! It uses something just about everyone owns–a cell phone.

With a smartphone and a few pieces of equipment you can easily get at a hardware store, you can now make your own microscope in less than an hour. Watch my video below, which demonstrates how to use your DIY microscope. You can build your own by following these directions.

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About Deborah Zierten

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.

You can be a scientist and help redwoods, too! Image © Save the Redwoods League

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