Scope on a Rope L2 Microscope
School Technology Resources, (877-395-1001), www.schooltr.com
When you're looking for classroom resources to get students excited about science while they simultaneously accomplish curricular objectives, you hope to find something that you can use for many different topics, at many grade levels and with great flexibility. I have never found anything that fits all of these needs as well or as economically as Scalar Corp.'s Scope on a Rope L2 microscope, distributed in the United States by School Technology Resources.
The device is actually many tools in one: it's a multiple-lens microscope that fits in the palm of your hand and instantly magnifies (from 1X-400X) whatever you want to look at - a flower, rock, mealworm larva, sediment or soil sample, or even the inside of a student's ear - while its internal lighting and automatic focus make it incredibly easy to use.
The Scope on a Rope L2 plugs directly into your classroom television or digital projector. This allows you to circumvent one of the biggest problems of traditional microscope viewing: making sure that the students are looking at what you want them to be looking at. Because when you take an image from the L2 and turn it into a presentation for the whole class to see, everyone is looking at the same thing. It also ensures that students are seeing the features you want them to notice. In addition, the device turns into a presentation tool with the 1X lens, allowing you to put documents, photos or tabletop work on a television or digital projector for class viewing.
The L2 comes with accessories such as a stage and external lighting source, which make it a snap to look at and display slides. There is even an adapter that lets you attach the L2 to any traditional microscope and project the image for all to see. Teachers have the option of plugging the L2 into a VCR (with standard connections) to create a recording video camera. You can also use the optional digital converter to plug the L2 into the USB port of a Mac or PC to capture images for manipulation, measurement and future lessons.
I've used Scalar's digital microscope to support studies of microorganisms, plant and animal anatomy and physiology, geology, and ecology. The L2 also comes with a CD-ROM full of lesson ideas and example images for practically every science topic.
In addition, the Scope on a Rope L2 has the option of coming bundled with the ProScope, a Scalar device that connects directly to the computer and is especially well suited for student work and image capturing. The bundle includes four lenses (1X-200X) that can be used interchangeably on the two devices, a telescoping stand, a lighting system, stage and carrying case, as well as the Teacher Resource CD-ROM. The price for a single basic bundle package is $800, with discounts for larger quantities. Many other options and bundles are also available for schools and educators.
The Scope on a Rope L2 is a serious, powerful tool that makes science fun and accessible. With the L2, your classes will never be the same again.
This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.