The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways
- it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
- It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
- It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.
What’s in the Box
The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.
One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.
Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.
The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.
The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down. I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.
The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.
I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.
As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.
The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level
Price and Availability
The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.
The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages
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