One of the most interesting activities that we did in homeschool (and we keep coming back to!) – looking at objects under the microscope. My husband purchased a USB Celestron Amoeba Microscope through a gift certificate he received for Think Geek. As we worked our way through Sassafras Science Adventures: Botany, one of our assignments was to examine the spore on the back of a fern frond. Spores are the brown dots that one can find on the backside of fern leaves. Initially the spores look more green, and as time goes on they become more brown and fuzzy. As the spores age, they become drier and are more ready to fall off the back of the leaf to become a new plant. With tweezers, we put the spore in a petri dish on our microscope. Shockingly the brown dot was moving: The baby fern was alive!
We were all thrilled by what we observed in the microscope; I highly recommend homeschool families purchasing one. The USB variety has the additional benefit that you are able to save photos of your findings. My kids loved taking pictures of their discoveries! When considering a microscope, take notice of the system requirements; some only work with Macs or only PCs. This investment will serve you for a while. Even now, my kids and I throw different specimens under the scope. Recently I got stung by a bee; I pulled the stinger out and took a closer look using the microscope. Bee stingers, crystals, mushrooms, deceased bugs – it’s amazing how life gets freshly revealed with a microscope!