The learning started when I took my friends for a walk to search for specimens to examine in our Smartscope. We collected seedlings, bark, moss, bugs, a rose pedal and leaf. That just got us started. After a relatively quick assembly the Smartscope was very easy to use, giving kids a a vehicle for independent discovery. As they placed their smartphone or device on top, lined up the camera and slipped their objects under the lens, kids turned the dials to focus and were fascinated with what they saw–veins in the leaves and petals, red tip at the end of the grass, linear salt crystals, and the spurs that come off the back legs of a tick. The descriptive conversation flowed fast and easily. You can’t help compare before and after appearances using the Smartscope. “Look it, look it!” “The evergreen looks like a braid. The pollen is woven with hairs on the edges.” They couldn’t get enough of this magnification adventure. The 9 year-old re-appeared with his jar of precious found objects which included several shark teeth and shells. The kids had great fun snapping pictures of the different objects which completely changed close up. Later we realized we could have taken a video of moving in and out on an object as different  parts came into focus if there was some depth to the specimen, with the associated discussion. The illustrated booklet includes fascinating facts and features to look for when you examine common bugs or objects in and out of the house such as a dead housefly. Look for the knobbed structures just behind the wings, called the halteres, which sparks a whole new discussion as they are the flight stabilizers. Kids drove the discovery, photography, comparisons, and descriptions, making this a very SMART scope!

Available at Ravensburger. Click here