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Pond Study

Learning outcomes

Most pupils will understand/be able to:

  • Improve observation and sampling skills
  • Use a key/field study books to identify organisms to the species level
  • There is a variety of freshwater life in the local environment
  • Recognise features of species adaptation
  • The need for sensitive handling/care of organisms/wildlife

Some pupils will have the opportunity to:

  • Describe, compare and contrast adaptation, variation and competition in freshwater species
  • Construct a food web
  • Understand energy transfers in a freshwater ecosystem
  • Construct a biomass pyramid
  • Discuss other types of ecosystems

Key words/phrases

Adaptation, Biodiversity, Biomass, Competition, Conservation, Dragonfly, Ecosystem, Environment, Food Chain/Web, Freshwater, Habitat, Larva, Nymph, Organism, Predation, Species Diversity.

Curriculum links


Scientific thinking, evidence from observations; practical and enquiry skills; organisms, behaviour

Art and design

Images, artefacts; draw to express perception


Writing that makes cross-curricular links; stories, poems, diaries Citizenship: communication, working with others; critical thinking


Half a day (could be less and combined with e.g. Animal Trail).


Pond in Hagg Farm wildlife garden, and in the Journey Centre classroom.


Freshwater invertebrate study, best in spring and summer. Session can be led by visiting teaching staff.

Supporting materials

Pond Study curriculum pack and pond life books at the Centre.

Health and safety

Cover cuts with a waterproof plaster (see information on Weil’s disease in Codes of Practice); wash hands after activity; care by the pond, e.g. slips, trips, falls; ensure appropriate footwear; care for the safe return of learning resources and creatures. Risk assessment no.17 (Field studies). Pupil ratio appropriate to group 1:20 max.

Activity session

  • Indoor discussion: freshwater invertebrate life, and what students expect to find: size, number, diversity of creatures.
  • Conservation issues and care of wildlife: beware of predator-prey relationships (e.g. dragonfly nymphs) and keep species in separate sample containers.
  • Outdoor resources incl. pond nets, ID books/charts/keys, microscopes all available from the Journey Centre next to the pond.
  • Use pond nets for safe collection of invertebrates from the wildlife pond.
  • Observation, classification and study of invertebrates in sample trays/containers.
  • Recording/discussion as appropriate for the group, e.g. sketching, painting, modelling, photography, descriptions, poems, verse, stories, creative writing.


  • Have learning outcomes, above, been met?
  • Classification – can the creatures be identified and classified?
  • Adaptation – how are the creatures adapted to live in their habitats? Discussion on food chains, predation, energy transfer, biomass pyramid, other ecosystems.
  • Discussion on freshwater invertebrate life. What was found?