The New Microscopes for Kids

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We stuck live tardigrades (also called water bears) under six inexpensive microscopes: three digital microscopes and three traditional optical scopes. We wanted to see what the teensy beasties — they grow no larger than 1 millimeter, or about the thickness of a credit card — would look like through the lenses of these off-the-shelf microscopes. Along the way, we learned quite a bit about the microscopes themselves. And while this wasn’t the most rigorous test to find the best scope for kids — our tester spent about 6 hours with the microscopes as a group — we wanted to share some of our insights because we think they’ll be worthwhile for any parent looking to buy their child one of these products.