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Featured Topic: Pond Life

Knowing and Caring for Ponds

Ponds grace our planet with their beauty, serenity, and homes for biodiversity. They make helping children and youth know and care for ponds a noble purpose. To support that noble purpose, TES offers here a special collection of materials and guides for helping children and youth connect to, know, and care for pond life.

To Know is to Wiggle

By W. George Scarlett 
To know nature can be through touching, smelling, seeing – in short, through sensing. But when creatures in nature aren’t present, then to know can be through representing with symbols. Words and numbers are symbols for knowing (the word frog, the number 2 for how many legs), but almost any medium can provide the means to create symbols for knowing. 

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Moving with Pond Life

By Layla Sastry

The following is an exercise that can be used with younger and older children to help them connect to and know life in and around ponds.

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A Turtle’s Tail: Tilly Turtle and the Leech

Written and Illustrated by Anastasia Brennan

“It was a Sunday afternoon, and Tillie Turtle lay around,
At the pond with other turtles
Who hardly made a sound.
Tilly splish-splashed in the water
When a leech swam up and got her!”

Read the full text of A Turtle’s Tail here!

Waterbug Poem

By W. George Scarlett 

Waterbug, waterbug, always gliding

Never sinking, always sliding

Little hairs and legs so long

Keep you afloat, from dawn to dawn.

When Nature Seems ‘Cruel’

By W. George Scarlett 
Bugs sucking the blood of other bugs, hawks grabbing and tearing apart squirrels, coyotes howling after a kill – if ever someone gets sentimental about nature and speaks only of nature’s wonders, that person has missed something central about nature, namely, that nature works on a different ethic than that of most humans.

Read more and watch the video “This is Why Water Striders Make Terrible Lifeguards” here

Over and Under the Pond

Book review by Hailey Swett 
Ponds: what lovely and lively ecosystems! What child doesn’t love exploring a pond, searching for critters big and small? In her picture book Over and Under the Pond, Kate Messner takes young readers on a journey of exploration through a pond, all from the comfort of their homes.

Read more and watch a read aloud video of the book here…

Sorting Out Pond Stuff

By W. George Scarlett 

As featured elsewhere on TES (see Collecting for Connecting to the Natural World  here ), late childhood can bring a passion for collecting and sorting stuff, including stuff from the natural world. And so, we can put that natural affinity for collecting and sorting (classifying) to work when fostering older children’s connecting, knowing, and caring for ponds and pond life.

Read more and watch “Exploring the World of Waterbugs with Students”…

When Pond Problems Call for Systems Thinking

By W. George Scarlett 

When there are pond problems, such as when fish are dying, it often takes systems thinking and high-level scientific investigation to figure out causes and what needs to be done. That’s an unreachable goal for many children. But with proper support, adolescents can become scientists finding cause in the combination of variables observed and measured while studying the systems of a virtual pond. One such support comes from the ecoLearn research lab at Harvard, a support explained in the accompanying film showing how advanced immersive technology can put adolescents right there in and around a (virtual) pond.

Read more and watch the film here…