My daughter is 5 and wants to learn about Biology. I thought a great start is to see life from pond water through a USB microscope. It would be great if she could see organisms like amoebas, flagellates and ciliates with her own eyes. The microscopes I have seen typically have a zoom range of about 40 to 400x.

Would this range be sufficient to see microscopic pond life?

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for awesome parenting and an intellectually curious child, as well as the good question. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 22 '15 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ It's advised not to start using a regular (meaning here transmitted light) microscope with kids under the age of about 10-12. It has to do with their brain being insuffiently developed to relate the two dimensional microscopical image with the three dimensional reality... I wouldn't know. I'm not a psychologist nor a neurologist, but however I am a dad of a 10 years old girl and an avid amateur microscopist with some 45 years of experience in that field. When my kid turned 8, I gave her one of my microscopes: a nice Zeiss Standard. The first time we did some pond dipping together, we found som $\endgroup$ – guest Apr 17 '17 at 10:18

2019-05-01 Edited: Updated dead links

From the comment section:

I would go with a cheap one with a magnification of ~40X. According to this source, 10-20X is already sufficient to see large protozoans and algae in a pond. Here some suggestions on what you could look at.

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  • $\begingroup$ Both links are dead now. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Chojnacki Apr 27 '19 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ @PiotrChojnacki Thanks for letting me know! The first link should be back soon (website is under maintenance). The second link is now restored (broke due to a change in the address name). $\endgroup$ – cagliari2005 May 2 '19 at 6:16

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