Today, week 5 of our pond studies, we concentrated on ecosystems. At least that is what I had planned. All the great plans of mice and men….
It started off well enough with Gary doing a teaching session on ecosystems. There’s something you should know about Gary- he used to be a lecturer many moons ago. He’s good, very good. I’m in the hall way on the computer and all I hear from the living room are sighs of contentment punctuated with the odd, ‘Daddy, your SUCH a good teacher!’ I pop my head around the corner for a photo of this apparent perfection and what do I see but Hangman being played on the white board – essential I am led to believe, in the whole concept of ecology!
I think ponds must have one of the most easily accessible ecosystems, and the children just found the whole thing fascinating (Hangman probably helped!). In addition to Daddy, I let them explore this web site which they seriously loved.
The goals this week were for the children to:
- Understand pond ecology
- Be able to identify any elements of the pond ecosystem in plain sight to them whilst at the pond
- Be able to discuss the elements they were unable to see either because the season or because of their position ie under the water
- Be able to use our water periscope to view under the water
However, once at the pond, we were met by a fairly badly injured duck, and it was this which was to take over our pond study:
It is incredible the difference just one week makes. Last week all was peace and quiet. This week, not so much. The pond was heavily populated with Mallard ducks, with many more than last week. Also, just seven days ago they were all existing happily and peaceably along side each other. There was much love in the air when we went down to the pond this week with many of the ducks having paired up:
However, the contest was on for the remaining female ducks. And what a contest! It was so noisy and ferocious it completely ruined the peace of the previous week:
Which brings me full circle to our little injured Mallard we found on the side of the pond. We believe it had been injured in a fight with another male for a female. My children are not backward in coming forward and soon they had summoned the local vets to the scene with their net, followed by the RSPCA:
They were so kind, sticking around for a good half an hour to chat with the children and explain why, if at all possible, they leave wildlife in the wild rather than bringing them in for treatment. My older children are all passionate about nature (inherited from my mum) and they all felt this was the absolute highlight of their week!
They believed the duck would heal himself, but promised to look in on it the next morning. We stuck around for a bit longer:
As the RSPCA woman said, there’s more drama down at the pond than on TV!!