Microbiology Toolkit - Pondering Pond Life
In this microbiology toolkit, for teachers working with pupils aged 8 - 14 years old, we provide free downloadable classroom resources to support your learners to use the scientific method to investigate pond water microorganisms.
What is this toolkit for?
Pupils are engaged and motivated when they are involved in planning their own science investigations. This toolkit will support you in using and teaching the scientific method, in a multitude of different ways (lots of investigations are possible). Using the kit, you can help support your learners to create and carry out their own unique investigations.
The Pondering Pond Life Toolkit includes:
- Pupil Experiment Booklet
- Teaching Guide
- Class Presentation
- A list of experimental materials - most of these materials are easy to source (with exception of a microscope)
We have also created a “Real-Life Research Fact File”, which can be used to talk about the real-world science that is happening on The University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, one of which is included in the pupil investigation booklet.
About this toolkit
Microorganisms are living things that are too small to be seen with our eyes. There are lots of different types of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and protozoa. They have vitally important roles in nearly every ecosystem on the planet. Some play key environmental roles, such as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Others live in animal guts and help the animal get nutrients from its food and protect it from being infected by disease-causing microorganisms. Many of the scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute study the microorganisms that live in farm animals so that they can understand the role microorganisms have in keeping animals healthy, well-nourished and happy.
The study of microorganisms in the classroom provides opportunities for teaching learners about doing science using the scientific method. In Pondering Pond Life your young learners will investigate protozoa and/or algae.
In this teacher toolkit, we will provide some examples of investigation topics, give you some tips on how to support your learners and give you the opportunity to create your own investigations with your pupils.
Here is an example of an investigation that can be carried out using this toolkit:
- Video: Pondering Pond Life Example Investigation
- Pond life investigation is fun and easy to do. Watch this investigation to answer the question Do my pond microorganism need light to grow?
Watch a video made by Susan Thomson, Principal Teacher at Kirkhill Primary School/ Dechmont Infant School in West Lothian, who participated in our Pondering Pond Life CLPL workshop. It includes her thoughts about using about the toolkit in the classroom and the benefits to her pupils:
- Video: Pondering Pond Life Teacher Experience
- Pondering Pond Life Teacher Experience
Want to give your pupils some practice at observing pond microorganisms? Want to exercise their numeracy skills? Download this free classroom resource which can be printed on A4 paper and laminated so that it can be used again and again!
Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence:
Second level (8-11 years old):
- I can identify and classify examples of living things, past and present, to help me appreciate their diversity
- I have contributed to investigations into the role of microorganisms in producing and breaking down some materials (SCN 2-13a)
- Through research and discussion I have an appreciation of the contribution that individuals are making to scientific discovery and invention and the impact this has made on society (SCN 2-20a)
Third level (11-14 years old):
- I can sample and identify living things from different habitats to compare their biodiversity and can suggest reasons for their distribution (SCN 3-01a)
- Using a microscope, I have developed my understanding of the structure and variety of cells and of their functions (SCN 3-13a)
- I have contributed to investigations into the different types of microorganisms and can explain how their growth can be controlled (SCN 3-13b)
England’s National Curriculum:
Upper Key Stage 2 (9-11 years old):
- Working Scientifically
- Living things and their habitats
Key Stage 3 (11-14 years old):
- Working Scientifically- experimental skills and investigations, analysis and evaluation
- Biology - structure and function of living organisms, material cycles and energy, interactions and interdependencies
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this science project The University of Edinburgh is not liable for the actions or activity of any person who uses the information in this resource or in any of the suggested further resources. The University of Edinburgh assumes no liability with regard to injuries or damage to property that may occur as a result of using the information and carrying out the practical activities contained in this resource or in any of the suggested further resources. These activities are designed to be carried out by children (8 to 14 years old) under the supervision of a teacher or other appropriate adult. The adult involved is fully responsible for ensuring that the activities are carried out safely by the children.
Pondering Pond Life has been fully risk assessed by the University of Edinburgh. If you wish to have a copy of our risk assessment please email email@example.com and list the name of the investigation.
Creative Commons Licencing
This work by University of Edinburgh is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means that while copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Non-Commercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
No Derivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
If you have any questions about this toolkit please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pondering Pond Life was funded by the Microbiology Society, using facilities funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation.