Project One: Pond Organisms
The three objectives of this project are to have students prepare a wet mount slide, use a microscope to locate organisms in the pond water and identify the organisms in different regions of the pond water.
The first material is pond water, which you can obtain from your local pond or you can purchase through a science supply company. The other materials are microscopes, slides, cover slips, droppers and paper towels (to clean up afterward). Students should bring pens/pencils and notebooks to make sketches of what they see.
The procedure is as follows:
- Students use droppers to take top layer pond water samples from the pond water container.
- Students put one drop of pond water on the center of the slide.
- Students carefully lower the cover slip on top of the pond water sample.
- They put the slide on the stage of the microscope.
- They focus and observe pond organisms under low power.
- Once they locate organisms, they switch to high power.
- Students make sketches of the different organisms they see.
- Sketches should be labeled "Top Layer."
- After students are finished, they should rinse off and dry the slides or teachers should administer brand new slides.
- Students should repeat this procedure two more times, taking from the "Middle Layer" and then "Bottom Layer" of the pond water.
Teachers can ask these discussion questions:
- Are there any similarities or differences in the types of organisms they see from the three layers?
- Why are there similarities and differences?
- What could be a reason for these similarities and differences?
- What type of organisms would you expect to be found in the top layer and bottom layer?
Students should clean up work stations. All lab material should be cleaned and dried and returned for storage. Teachers can collect students' sketches.
To grade this project, teachers can evaluate the effort put into the sketches, answers to discussion questions and how well the students participated in the project.