Science equipment for Early Years Science

We intend teaching a unit on mini creatures at Year 1 level. The school has some magnifiers for viewing. The microscopes are not really friendly for younger students. Would you please advise me on equipment such as microscopes and magnifiers recommended for use in early years classes.  

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Publication Date: 24 September 2015
Asked By: Anonymous
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Science equipment for Early Years Science

For younger primary aged students magnification tools and equipment need to be friendly, safe to use, used appropriately and help to make the viewing of small items a successful and valuable experience. In response to your question please consider the following information.


Large hand held magnifiers, available in plastic are transportable and provide immediate viewing for students. These are useful for outside activity. Pocket magnifiers are also a good addition to a set of viewing tools.


For indoor tasks where mini creatures have been collected in containers, microscopes are effective viewing tools. For an early years student a microscope needs to be robust and simple. A student should be able to use it for independent viewing. A binocular microscope is advisable (often referred to as stereo microscope by suppliers) and up to 40x magnification. This magnification is quite appropriate for primary aged students when viewing body parts of mini creatures, veins in a leaf etc. There are many types of microscope available by suppliers, both digital and non digital. A discussion of some non digital types of microscopes follows. 

One non digital microscope relies on the ambient light available. This microscope can be easily transported and used outdoors. Another (more expensive) microscope is equipped with a lamp and requires access to a powerpoint. (See photo below) This microscope has limited transportablity. It is equipped with a switch where light can be directed onto the object being viewed or where light maybe directed from below the viewing platform. Beware that the lamp does heat up and when using this microscope students need to keep hands clear of the lamp. Both microscopes are binocular, have focus wheels and the lens height may be adjusted. 

Video flex camera

Again for indoor viewing a video flex camera offers magnified viewing for a shared experience where a camera attached to a flexible goose-neck transmits the image to visual display screen e g television, computer, IWB. The flexible neck is manoeuvrable and can be placed to optimise the viewing experience.


There are numerous commercial suppliers of science educational equipment. Their websites and consultants are informative and offer a range of equipment for magnification and viewing for early years students.  

by Merilyn Harris on 16 October 2015

I have also bought cheap hand held microscopes for younger people. They cost about $10 to $20 each, have a battery operated lamp built in. They are pretty durable and give about the same magnification as a stereo microscope. Have a look through some of the suppliers catalogues.

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