Microscopes are expensive, but scientists at Göttingen University, Germany, may have a cheap solution for budding science lovers and DIYers. They might even have all of the necessary ingredients in their toy bins, if they love LEGO!
From the Göttingen University:
The researchers designed a fully functional, high-resolution microscope with capabilities close to a modern research microscope. Apart from the optics, all parts were from the toy brick system. The team realized that the lenses in modern smartphone cameras, which cost around €4 each, are of such high quality that they can make it possible to resolve even individual cells. The scientists produced instructions for building the microscope as well as a step-by-step tutorial to guide people through the construction process whilst learning about the relevant optical characteristics of a microscope. The researchers measured children’s understanding through questionnaires given to a group of 9-13 year olds. The researchers found that children given the parts and plans to construct the microscope themselves significantly increased their knowledge of microscopy. For this particular study, the researchers, whose day-to-day research focusses on fundamental biophysical processes, benefitted from the input and enthusiasm of their 10-year-old co-author.
If you're interested in building one, here's the free instruction.