Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

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


Download Pondering Pond Life ¦ Microbiology Toolkit

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!

Practicing Observation Sheets

 RAiSE Case Study about Pondering Pond Life

If you use this toolkit please show us your work by tweeting @EBSOClab @Microbiosoc #PonderingPondLife

If you have any questions about this toolkit please email ebsoc@ed.ac.uk


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.