Introduction to Kindergarten Earth Science Pond Study

-Next Generation Science Standard* K-ESS3-1

In order to study the survival needs of plants and animals, food webs, and food chains, we did this Kindergarten Earth Science Pond Study.  Our full lesson for this project can be found in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

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We got some books about ponds before heading out to study a real pond. We used these books to answer questions on the worksheets and assessment for this lesson.  The books we used were:

Pond Life (A Golden Guide from St. Martin’s Press)

Life in Ponds (Life in Water Biomes) by Lauren Coss

 It’s a Frog’s Life!: My Story of Life in a Pond by Steve Parker

Hey Diddle Diddle: A Food Chain Tale by Pam Kapchinske

Materials List for Kindergarten Earth Science Pond Study

dip net
magnifying lens
-disposable plastic containers
-egg cartons or ice cube trays
plastic tea spoons
Pond Study lesson

Step 1: Download the Pond Study lesson and complete the worksheets

Here is a sample worksheet from our lesson:
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Step 2: Find a local pond, collect all your materials and head out to the study area

After studying the organisms which live in a pond ecosystem, we headed out to a local pond to see what we could find.  Being a biology teacher, I would have loved to get out the microscope and put some pond water under it, but Jack is not at the point where he understands how to focus his eyes in the tiny eyepiece, so he gets frustrated and disinterested with even our tiny pocket jeweler microscope. So we looked for the macro invertebrates (big bugs) at the pond instead.

For a “Homer gift” (that’s what my family calls gifts that you get others that YOU really want, referencing when Homer bought Marge a bowling ball, lol!)  I would love to get Jack this Beginner Microscope Kit from AmScope for his birthday this year.  A video microscope would be great too, but I haven’t researched them yet, so any suggestions in the comments would be welcome!

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We used a bunch of take out plastic containers and an egg carton.  We also used a butterfly net as a dip net because we do not have a dip net, but we are going to get one soon.  As an aside, I also want to get a seine net to take into the bay and see what creatures we can find there.

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Step 3: Dip the net into areas where there is a lot of mud and debris and put your catch into the plastic containers

We tried to dip into the areas there there were leaves and lots of debris because that’s where things like to hang out.

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Step 4: Search through the debris in the plastic containers and put anything you find that is alive into the egg cartons with a little bit of water

We put our “catch” into the plastic containers and looked through them using the plastic tea spoons.  If we found anything interesting, we put it into the egg container and viewed it with our magnifying lens.

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Step 5: Record your findings using the clipboard and take notes for referencing later

We found a beetle and a dragonfly nymph.

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We recorded what we found on our clipboard.

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We also found a small fish!  There was a small black beetle that moved really fast and we think it was a whirligig beetle but we are not sure.

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Step 6: Carefully return all collected materials to the pond

This was really fun and we can’t wait to try it out again soon, perhaps when the seasons change, to see the different things we can find!  Of course, everything we caught, we did not hurt and we put back into the water as soon as we could.

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Step 7: Complete the assessment from the Pond Study lesson

Here is a sample assessment page from the lesson:
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NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

*”Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.”