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Pond Dipping: Key Stage 2

Fun and popular activity in which children catch aquatic creatures and learn how to identify them and about their life-cycle.

This activity draws on children’s natural interest in living things to help them to learn how locally occurring animals can be identified and assigned to groups by using a key. It also helps them to learn the abundance of creatures living in a small area and some of their adaptations for survival. They also learn the scientific processes of collection, observation and recording in a fun way.

In 2015 we created a new pond dipping platform especially so that children could get closer to nature and learn about pond life. Our boardwalk allows access to 3 small connected ponds set in a reedbed. The ponds were created by the army in the 1980’s – they detonated explosives to create the pools as part of an experiment! The ponds had been overgrown by reeds but we recently re-discovered them.

Working together in groups of up to 6 the children will use nets to catch creatures living in the ponds. They will use collecting trays and identification charts to work out what they have caught. As part of this we will help to teach them about aquatic creatures, their life-cycles and some of the adaptations that they have to survive. The types of creatures caught might include frogs, sticklebacks, boatmen, dragonfly larvae, water beetles, water snails, etc.

This activity lasts around 20 minutes and works best if children are in groups of 6 or less, with each group supported by an adult.

Learning Outcomes/Curriculum Links

Science Curriculum: Working Scientifically, Animals and Living Things & Their Habitats.

English Curriculum: Spoken Language

Mini-beast Hunters will help children to:

  • learn about the different plants and animals found in different micro-habitats.
  • group living things according to observable similarities and differences.
  • learn language associated with insects and scientific processes.
  • identify and name some of the different kinds of animals in their local environment, describe and compare their structure and consider whether they are carnivores, herbivores or omnivores.
  • asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways.
  • observing closely.
  • identifying and classifying.
  • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  • learn to care for wild creatures.