One Year Pond Study: Week 7 – Spring Pond Water Study

Look at those reflections in the pond - beautiful!
Look at those reflections in the pond – beautiful!

Welcome to week 7 of our one year pond study.  For the rest of the posts in this series please see here.

The pond was so quiet this week, there weren’t many photos to be had.  Nesting perhaps?  There was the odd duck having a sleep:

Maybe he'd been left on the shelf, as far as finding a girl duck
Maybe he’d been left on the shelf, as far as finding a girl duck
Our beautiful Mandarin duck
Our beautiful Mandarin duck

And that was it really.

This week I wanted to study the water in greater depth.  We did a bit about water in week 2 when we studied the pollution in the pond.  So far this pond study has been more about looking, watching and enjoying.  I wanted to push it a little bit deeper.  So my goals for this week were as followed:

  1. Level of the water (including measures to control the water-ecology/ conservation)
  2. Water temperature
  3. Water Clarity
  4. Water pH
  5. Microscopic life found in the water (concentrating primarily on this)

Do you remember the ‘No Fishing’ sign from week 2?

Only the top of the sign can be seen!

Well, it’s almost buried now:

DSC_0135

A few weeks ago the children were wondering what happened when there was too much rain.  So I told them to look around the pond’s edge and see if they could discover for themselves.  They came across this:

An over-flow pipe
An over-flow pipe

The pond is situated on the side of a road and when it used to fill up, it overflowed onto the road, flooding it.  The conservators have dug a ditch the other side of the road and laid an overflow pipe which goes directly under the road to overflow into the ditch, preventing any flooding.

Next T11 measured the temperature of the water:

T11 taking the water's temperature
T11 taking the water’s temperature

The temperature of the water was 11 degrees Celsius.  We didn’t take the temperature last time, but I’ll be doing it monthly from now on and I’ll chart it at the end of the year.

Last time we checked the clarity by looking at the water when we returned home, which we still did, but L10 also checked it out through our periscope:

Using the Periscope, L10 said she was able to see through the water, but not very clearly.
Using the Periscope, L10 said she was able to see through the water, but not very clearly.

Water pH we checked as before and it was the same at 8.  I’m really looking forward to seeing if this changes at all as the weather heats up (if, in deed, it ever does!).

Next was, for all of us, the really fun part:

Water was collected from the pond
Water was collected from the pond
When we got home we let it settle and then had a good look with just our eyes to see if we could see anything
When we got home we let it settle and then had a good look with just our eyes to see if we could see anything
Then placing our magnifier pot on top of a clear jar, so that light flowed in from all directions (making it much clearer to see anything) we checked out a sample of the water to see if a slight magnification helped any.  It didn't!
Then placing our magnifier pot on top of a clear jar, so that light flowed in from all directions (making it much clearer to see anything) we checked out a sample of the water to see if a slight magnification helped any. It didn’t!

The exciting part was yet to come.  Years ago we had found a TV screen microscope, which magnifies things by 50, at a charity shop.  I made up some slides for the children using a long pipette and trying to ‘capture’ any movement I saw.  One by one we put them under the microscope to see what we could see.  Using this website (which I really, really, really recommend) and its very clear and helpful sheet, we attempted to identify anything we saw:

This was a rotifer
This was a copepod called a Cyclops, on account of its single eye.

Copepod (from the website above): long antennae, tiny eyespot: 0.5 – 3 mm

and the same photo cropped
and the same photo cropped.  The two bulges on the left are two sacks of eggs
This was of a wiggly microscopic worm.  They were see through with a bare eye, but you could sort of 'see' them through the movement of the water.
This was of a wiggly microscopic Oligochaete worm. They were see-through to the naked eye, but you could sort of ‘see’ them because the movement of the water when they moved.

Oligochaete worms (Phylum Annelida, Class Oligochaetae)(from the website above) have bristles which are used to grip when creeping between water plants or when on the bottom of a pond. Like many pond organisms they are very transparent. Their internal organs are clearly visible. Their stomach always give a nice glimpse of their prey.

And up close
And up close (including the contents of his stomach!)
This picture shows a piece of dirt, but the life it had swimming around it was amazing!  We saw lots of types of single cell algae, bacteria and water bears.  Cropping it doesn't make it any clearer, but they were all there in abundance
This picture shows a piece of dirt, but the life it had swimming around it was amazing! We saw lots of types of single cell algae, bacteria and Protozoa. Cropping it doesn’t make it any clearer, but they were all there in abundance
This was a simple sample of the pond water.  It has so much life in it!  None visiable to the naked eye and in fact even magnified it was hard to make out shapes of some of the creatures.
This was a simple sample of the pond water. It has so much life in it! None visible to the naked eye and in fact even magnified it was hard to make out shapes of some of the creatures.

I can’t tell you how much fun this was!  After I had done all I had wanted to, I left the children to explore.  They were there for ages, making up slides and looking for more life.  It was so good!  I might have to get the children to do a microscopic analysis of the pond water each week, so we can build a clear picture of all the life there is to found in a pond.  Loving our pond study!

  Science SundayCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

40 comments

    1. Hello Charis! How are you? I often think of you and your family. I do hope your husband is doing well?
      I’m glad you’re enjoying our pond study, because we LOVE it!! I think our periscope was a charity shop buy as well as the microscope! Charity shops all over the world are going to be flooded with home schoolers looking for pond study equipment!

  1. I am SO with Charis on this one… I need to find a Periscope, a Microscope, a Pond… even a Mandarin Duck will do!! I love these Pond Studies! Well done for igniting curiosity in your children for science all around them… I bet you they don’t look at that Pond in the same way anymore… and I BET you they more about that Pond than any other child in your village!

    1. Giggling at you needing to find a pond!! Yes, if you want to do a pond study, a pond IS rather essential!
      We really loved the microscope discoveries. Definitely repeating this again!

  2. I love how you always find something new to explore or investigate! Fabulous pictures, and thanks for the link to the pond life website, it does look brilliant. We’ll be going back to our pond freshly inspired. Lucinda
    ps do you have a separate shed for your charity shop finds?!!

    1. Oh, it’s too early for rolling about on the floor laughing, but Gary says that ALL THE TIME!! We have £5 per week to spend on charity shop finds. Do you know how much we can get for that….I just kind of pick up stuff we might need, oh, 5 years from now!! This is why our house is a permanent heap! But a happy one!!

      1. Never mind a shed. We could do with another house to put all our homeschooling resources in. But thinking about that Claire would just get all excited about that extra space and find stuff to fill it with! Lol. Have to say though she does get some cool stuff at charity shops and the kids are having a blast. Good work sweetheart.

      2. It’s a fantastic habit! We have about 5 charity shops on our high street too. Last time I went I got Mastermind for a couple of pounds. Seeing the wonderful stuff you find, I really must get in the habit of browsing more often! (I’m sure there’s some space in our loft…)

  3. Your pond study has been so inspiring. I love how you’ve built on what you’ve studied in the previous weeks. The charity shop that you go to is a treasure cove! Where is it located?! My local charity shop is very lacking by comparison. The TV microscope is just the coolest thing ever.

    1. We live in quite a ‘nice’ area, so people give away stuff that is practically new and there are always lots of educational bits and pieces. Add that to the fact there are no less than 4 charity shops in our village alone, not to mention the 10+ in nearby towns and we’re in charity shop heaven!!

      1. My goodness, you’re certainly spoilt for choice! I just love charity shop finds, but you take it to another level! 🙂

    1. Oh, don’t let disorganisation stop you! I’m as scatty and disorganised as they come but my enthusiasm for home schooling more than makes up for any lack of organisational skills! Go for it I say- it really is a rather special life!

      1. Oh miss angelicscalliwags!!! I have MISSED SO MUCH and have much HomeWork to do studying your last few posts–FIRSTLY, another thank you soo much for the detail you place in these well arranged posts! The details are the places I find what exactly works for my youngster and her learning abilities. Without your explanations in detail, I wouldn’t really know what to go looking for or study LOL! NOW I can devise a plan right for my LOs learning style and age appropriate activities! ill have another post SOON!!!???THANK YOU!!

    2. I am also VERY DIS organized since my last child blessed us with her prescience but honestly, with 3 moves under our belts in her 4yr old life–IT ALL WORKS OUT! No matter the frustration, space size, it seems to just work itself out! I do not however homeschool full time. My instructor is yours truly, ‘angelicscalliwags’…I pick up on her posts (most incredible btw), apply activities & learning abilities to my LO, n we go from there! Whatever Works! Its also about perseverance and repetition, the more you ,do-it’ whatever it is, it WILL get easier and you’ll all get better at it;)
      Good Luck! It

  4. Sorry for not communicating for a few weeks – been re-organising our own routines. Having great fun – busy too. We’ll have to have a proper chat soon. In the mean time i’m going to try??? to send you some photos we’ve taken of visitors to our bird table. We’re having an entertaining time watching them just outside our living room window. Never realised there were so many varieties living so close. Hope you enjoy them. By the way, I’ve changed my signature. Who can decipher the code first?

    1. Ooooh, I’ve got it G & G!! But I’ll let the children give it a go as well before I tell them. I would have thought G & G in NI would have been more accurate! Or so I’ve been told……..

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