Ponds are smaller bodies of water and tend to be prevalent in a lot of communities. When it comes to studying nearby pond ecosystems, students can participate in a variety of hands-on activities that allow them to explore the ecosystem first-hand and discover the types of life that exists within a pond.
The Utah Education Network offers a program called ExplorA-Pond which allows classrooms to upload pictures of local ponds and compare them to ponds uploaded by other classrooms around the world. Included with the pictures of the ponds are details about the size of the pond and type of life contained within it. Students can create a Venn diagram or other chart to compare and contrast a local pond with one that they discover on the website.
Have students visit a local pond and take pictures of the pond and its surroundings. Take a lot of pictures and, once back at school, create a mural of the pond with butcher paper and paint. Students can label the various parts of the pond on the mural. Pictures of the students investigating the pond can be placed around the mural.
Create a Pond
Find a large, clear, plastic storage container or a large aquarium. Place an inch or two of mulch at the bottom, followed by an inch or two of gravel. Add a few decayed leaves and some rooted pond plants. Add a little bit of pond water to the container. Let it sit for a day or two before filling it 3/4 full with water. Catch a couple of tadpoles, small fish or snails and add them to the container. Cover with a screen to contain escaping animals and watch them interact with their habitat.
Take students to a local pond and have them perform a pond dip. Using a large net, have students make three or four sweeps of the pond. Place their finds in a large plastic bucket that has a little bit of pond water in it or clear glass jars with pond water. Have students sketch what they found in their sweep and then have them use a field guide or do research to identify their finds.