Using Digital Microscopes in the Classroom

This technology integration activity is designed to introduce you to the Digital Blue QX3 microscope.  This “toy” offers inexpensive, hands-on experiences for children and is becoming increasingly available in classrooms.  While it is probably not appropriate for a high school advanced biology class, the microscope can be used successfully throughout the K-8 grades to help students delve into the microscopic world.

More information about the Digital Blue QX3 microscope can be found at the company’s website:

Additional web resources related to the microscope can be found at my PortaPortal website:

For the activity, you will need the following materials:

In order to publish a picture to a blog, you will need access to a blog. We'll be using software called Hello to make publishing our pictures easy.


Spend about 5 minutes exploring the features of the microscope, using one of the slides that came with the microscope for viewing. You will need to be able to do the following:

Once you're comfortable operating the microscope, view the various objects in your bag. Experiment with different magnifications and lighting. Look for patterns or interesting features in the various objects. Take a picture of any particularly interesting or surprising features, patterns or marks. You may take several pictures.

Move to the editing part of the software and view the gallery. Look at the pictures you took. Which is the best example of a pattern? And which would be the most difficult to identify? That should be the picture you load to the web.

Using Hello to Upload Pictures:

  1. Open Hello by clicking the icon on the desktop
  2. The login and password should be provided so you can just click Login.
  3. From the Friends tab, click the Send Pictures button. Choose Explorer and locate your picture on the computer. Click the Open button.
  4. In the next dialog box, you will select the friends to whom you with to send the pictures. Choose BloggerBot and click Send.
  5. The computer will make two camera sounds and place your picture along with a picture of the blog in the send tray.
  6. Enter a caption for your picture where the cursor is flashing in the lower right hand corner.
  7. Click Publish.
  8. BloggerBot will upload the image and then open your browser to show you the blog. You may need to refresh the webpage for the picture to appear.