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Habitats (pond dipping)

Learning Objectives

Most pupils will:

  • Learn safely around water
  • Use keys to identify different river plants and animals
  • Use different sampling techniques to collect minibeasts
  • Appreciate the distinctiveness of animals and plants found in a pond habitat and they are adapted to conditions there
  • Understand how life cycles are linked to the seasons

Some pupils will also have the opportunity to:

  • Understand the interdependence of living things
  • Develop appreciation of the environment and personal responsibility for its conservation
  • Create food chains and webs based on the livings things discovered
  • Make predictions about the animals and plants that might be found in a habitat
  • Have a trailer ride to pond depending on class size


On arrival a member of OEE Team will welcome your group to the Centre and describe the day’s programme, learning objectives, and the health and safety issues.

½ Day Course Programme

  • Arrival health and safety talk about Brackenhurst and pond area (10 mins)
  • Walk and toileting(equestrian centre) on way to pond (20 mins)
  • Introduction/demonstration of pond area and equipment set up (10 mins)
  • Pupils put into threes taking turns to dip in the pond and return to their trays on the bank to identify their findings (30 mins)
  • KS2 will use hide to observe findings under microscopes(during session) Return minibeasts to the pond up tidy up (5 mins)
  • Back to the centre/wash hands (20 mins)

Detailed activity sheets can be found in the Pond and River Studies curriculum material. Copies available at the centre.


Back at the Centre the group will reflect on their day and consider how well the learning objectives have been met (5 – 10 mins).

Safety Considerations

Weather Conditions and clothing

Some wellies are available at the Centre but please ensure that children are dressed warmly and have suitable waterproof outerwear. Activities will take place in all but the most severe weather conditions. The centre teacher will contact the group leader if conditions are unsafe for the visit to continue.

Equipment supplied

Nets, trays, ID keys, observation pots, hand lenses, first aid kit

Equipment needed from school

Sun cream if required.

Other Information

The actual programme may vary depending on the number and needs of pupils, length of visit and weather conditions.


For KS1 children they will need to be assisted by more adults whilst on platform to ensure safety at all times.
For KS2 children use of a more developed vocabulary on pond life cycles and eco systems and use of microscopes.



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