March 15, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 6)


Strong Points: Completely free, anybody can view sessions as a guest
Weak Points: None


I am not aware of many K–12 classrooms equipped with their own scanning electron microscope. Yet, over 300 classes have had the chance to control such a microscope thanks to BugScope, a neat (and completely free) initiative by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The process is simple: teachers complete a free online registration for their class, schedule a date and time for their microscope session, and finally send in the insect specimens that they want to view with their class. (Alternatively, one can choose to use the university’s specimens.) During the sessions, students and their teacher can web chat with the university scientists while interactively controlling the microscope. Even if you are not part of the scheduled class, The BugScope website lists the times of the upcoming sessions and allows anyone to sit in on the sessions as a guest.

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