Create a 'portable pond' as a basis for investigations into water plants and animals, using discarded plastic soft drinks bottles (3 litre size)
Put washed sand and a few pebbles in the bottom of your pond. Add water, either distilled, from an outside pond, or from a water butt. Allow the sand to settle before adding plants and animals. Select your plants and animals depending on the investigations you wish to carry out. Your portable pond can also be incorporated into an eco-column.
Investigation 1 - Comparing the effects of day and night
In this simple investigations, students set up two identical ponds. Put both under a light bank or other light source. Expose one pond to continuous light and the other to 'day and night' by covering it with a dark box to simulate night. Observe and record any differences.
Investigation 2 - Comparing two water plants
Set up two ponds, one with some fronds of duckweed, Lemna minor, and the other with a spring of water mint, Mentha aquatica. Keep them under identical conditions. Devise ways of measuring the growth of these plants and work out a way of measuring which one is the most productive.
Investigation 3 - Investigating snails
Visit an outside pond and try to find an animal (e.g. snail) feeding on a water plant. Collect the snail and the water plant. Set up a portable pond and devise a way of working out how much one snail eats in one day. Then estimate the snail population in the outside pond and work out how much plant materials is needed to feed the snails for one year.
Any animals put in these ponds are living creatures and should be treated with care. Always release them back into their natural habitat when you have finished your study.