A Pond Investigationby: Mark Koschmann and Dan Shepardson

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What lives in the pond? Did frogs hop from another pond to ours? How do tadpoles get into the pond? And Could our pond be polluted? These questions were addressed in a professional development program that takes advantage of a school pond to teach environmental concept to elementary students. The ongoing projects that developed as a result of the program have benefited both teachers and students by engaging inquiry in the school’s backyard. Perhaps your school has a pond, forest, or other natural area that will lead to a schoolwide investigation!

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:58 PM

The author describes how teachers from one building provided professional development for teachers in another building on how to use the environment outside of the building to teach science. Clearly describes where they found funding and how lessons were designed - the lessons they model could actually be used as is for elementary environmental classes. The only problem is the website is dated - while one could use terraserver, there are other (some better) resources out there. In addition to using Google Map, teachers might consider using The National Atlas @ http://www.nationalatlas.gov/mapmaker While not as easy to manipulate as Google Map or Google Earth, the images are very sharp and clear and there is a lot of data available for researching other topics. One benefit of Google Earth, though, is the historical feature to see how an area has changed over time - both great resources for students at any level.

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

  • on Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:40 PM

This article is about a group of teachers who decided to find out about a pond that was behind their elementary school. Students and teachers wanted to know, "What lives in the pond? Could it be polluted?" The 5-8 teachers decided to investigate and share their findings with the K-4 teachers. A $2000 grant was received and a professional development session was planned. Teachers learned about and mapped their school's watershed. They compared their pond with two other near by ponds. The teachers learned to do water monitoring, which included taking the water temperature and water chemistry. How to get students involved? It was decided that each grade would be responsible for one test from each of the ponds so they could compare data. They included a rain gauge, temperature, and pH. They also set up a control and experimental aquariums. Finally, a Powerpoint presentation was developed so students could share their findings. This article shows that something as simple as a pond can get the entire school involved in common activities. Students can write and learn new vocabulary in English, make calculations in math, learn the history of the area around the pond in social studies, and make observations, hypotheses, and collect data in science. One school's experience is another school's challenge!

Beatrice Taylor
Beatrice Taylor

  • on Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:02 PM

As stated above, I too checked the website the topography website and confirm that it is out of date. This sounds like it would have been a great and interesting online source to use for the students to see their own school and community's features. Overall the article was a wonderful resource for explaining the workshop and the inquiry based learning that comes with it. It is also has a great use of combining the outdoors with the classroom so that the students are getting the full benefit of the learning environment by using the real-life materials found in their community. The resource even includes suggestions on what different grades could participate in for a consistent and reliable data collection and school-wide participation in a science based lesson.

Darcey Bodziony
Darcey Bodziony

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