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STEM Starter Kit Review by Cristina Grau

My First Lab, C&A Scientific
7241 Gabe Court
Manassas, VA 20109

I’d love to own a microscope. I’ve wanted one for quite some time. However, I’ve come the realization I have absolutely no place to display such a large object, nor a location to store it when not in use. Thanks to the STEM Starter Kit from My First Lab and C&A Scientific, our family has discovered a powerful tool which fits in the palm of my hand!

The STEM Starter Kit from My First Lab and C&A Scientific takes learning to a new level, easily converting any mobile device into a microscope. Simply choose your choice of light, clip the microscope over your mobile device’s camera lens, position the lens over the desired object, and take your photos and video! The STEM Starter Kit is perfect for the home, classroom, and exploring the great outdoors.

Priced at $19.99, the STEM Starter Kit includes a universal microscope with clip, fitting any smartphone or tablet; fifteen different 3D specimens on prepared slides; a slide carrying and storage case; two lights, forensic UV and LED Light; and batteries. Specimen include animal hair, broken shells, cotton, feathers, and more! Suggested for children ages six and up, the Starter Kit makes learning hands-on and available at your fingertips. All you need is a mobile device and your STEM Starter Kit in order to begin your adventure in learning.

Our family received a STEM Starter Kit via mail, and immediately began exploring its possibilities upon arrival. The microscope was simple to manipulate and attached easily onto my device. The slides provided were the perfect starting point to entice our children to explore further. We experimented with both the LED and forensic UV lights, using our puppy to aid us in our learning adventure. We explored possibilities for approximately an hour and have since taken it on several outings to explore while enjoying nature walks and tide pools.

The microscope in the STEM Starter Kit is small, lightweight, portable, and easy to use. It is durable enough for small hands to operate, yet a powerful aid in close inspection of any desired object. We appreciated being able to manipulate both the light and the microscope to magnify an image, and the ability to rotate the light around the microscope for better viewing. Images taken are clear and wonderful for use in scientific study. The provided 3D specimens are fascinating for the children to examine and are a wonderful resource. Children will enjoy testing out the possibility to be found using both the forensic UV and LED Light.

We did note, while the microscope was easily attached to any mobile device, not all device cases were conducive for taking good photos. Thicker cases prevented us from properly aligning the lens of the microscope with the lens of our device’s camera. However out of the twelve devices on which we tested our microscope only one seemed to have this issue. One unanticipated aspect of using our microscope was the need to digitally zoom in our camera’s lens in order to get a larger photo of the magnified object. When first attaching our microscope to our device, a black “tube” filled the bulk of our screen. Using the digital zoom on our camera fixed this issue and allowed us to better view our object while not distorting the image too greatly. Overall, the microscope worked beautifully and we couldn’t be more pleased.

The STEM Starter Kit from My First Lab is a fantastic tool we’re excited to use as often as possible in our learning adventure. This pocket-sized kit goes anywhere we go; from the kitchen to the wilds of the great outdoors. Finally, we own a microscope which meets our family’s needs and has the possibility to take learning everywhere!

-Product review by Cristina Grau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018