Pond Dipping activities
Pond dipping is a much-loved activity that needs no introduction. At Titchfield Haven we have a specially built dipping platform over a pond that is a 10 minute walk into the reserve. This gives children the chance to see a pond in a natural setting and relate it to other wetland features such as reedbed and swamp.
Pond dipping links in very well with birdwatching as it gives children the opportunity to watch birds feeding then go and catch the sorts of the creatures the birds they saw were eating.
Having walked to the pond, the children are shown the correct use of the equipment provided. Pairs or small groups then take it in turns to use long handled nets to scoop up creatures from the pond. The nets are emptied into white trays and the trays taken away from the pond for study - there is a grassy area near the pond where trays can be put down. Notable creatures can be transferred to magnifying pots for closer inspection. A summary talk at the end of the activity highlights some of the animals found. Keys or worksheets can be provided during the activity to help children identify for themselves the creatures they have found.
- Pond Dipping Worksheet 183kb pdf
- The close hands-on study of freshwater animals and invertebrates. The range of creatures that could be caught include: frogs, toads, newts and their tadpoles; dragonfly nymphs, damselfly nymphs, mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, diving beetles, whirligig beetles, water boatmen, pond skaters, caddisfly nymphs, screech beetle larvae, water scorpion, water measurer, mosquito larvae, sludge worm, water flea, freshwater shrimp, water louse.
- Adaptations - pond life is very good for the study of adaptations as it is easy to see the special features of each species. For example, the oar-like legs of the water boatman that aid its swimming.
- Food chains. The links of the food chain can be observed in the pond by distinguishing between the herbivores and carnivores. By combining pond dipping with bird watching the upper parts of the food chain can be incorporated into the study.
- Art - children could sketch what they have caught in their trays.
If booked as a single activity, between 1 and 1½ hours should be allowed for pond dipping. This includes time to visit the toilets at the Visitor Centre. If combined with another activity, such as Birdwatching, the minimum time allowance should be 45 minutes. This includes transferring to and from the location of the other activity.
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