A mini tripod (see photo below) is very useful in the classroom for taking close ups. For other shots the mini tripod is placed on another surface to provide required height.
These mini tripods have extendable legs and a flexible head.
Tripods are essential for 'Stop-go animation' photography. The camera must stay in exactly the same position for each shot - the tripod will obviously give the camera a fixed position whilst the animator is changing the object to be photographed.
Mini tripods only cost about £5 and fold up small enough to fit in to a camera case.