Pond. A pond is a small body of freshwater surrounded by land. It is. Habitat Hallmarks

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1 Turn this model to witness how pond life changes with the seasons. Habitat Hallmarks Resources Butternut Hollow Pond by Brian J. Heinz (First Avenue Editions, 2005). Detailed illustrations and informative text describe life at a pond from sunrise to sunset. org.uk/ponddip/index.html Students dip into a jar of pond water to learn about different kinds of microscopic life that live there. A pond is a small body of freshwater surrounded by land. It is smaller and shallower than a lake. Water lilies, water hyacinths, cattails, and other similar plants grow in ponds. The stem of a water lily grows underwater while its leaves and flowers float on the surface. Cattails and reeds grow along the water s edge. One-celled, plant-like algae drift in the water with microscopic animals. Together, these tiny organisms form freshwater plankton that serves as food for small fish, water insects, and other larger animals. In summer, animal life flourishes at every level of a pond. On the water s surface, ducks paddle, water striders skate, and whirligig beetles turn round and round. Fish, water bugs, and snails glide below the surface. Tadpoles swim underwater, breathing through gills. As they grow, they develop lungs that will help them breathe air above water. The muddy pond bottom is crawling with hungry crayfish and turtles in search of worms or dead creatures that sink from above. As autumn approaches, most pond birds fly off to warmer weather. Lily flowers fall apart and their pads sink. Most insects die after laying eggs. As the water chills, there s less food to eat, and fish, frogs, and turtles move at a slower pace. In the winter, a thin layer of ice might form over the pond surface. This ice protects the cold water below from freezing solid as the temperature continues to drop. Most fish can survive the cold water under the ice. Frogs and turtles sleep through winter buried in the mud. With the arrival of spring, frogs and turtles awaken from their winter sleep. As the days get warmer, plants such as pondweed start growing, fish and frogs lay eggs, dragonflies and other insects hatch, and algae start to multiply. Birds and other animals return to the pond to hunt or nest. The pond comes back to life. 56

2 Po n d Making the Manipulative 1 Photocopy pages Cut out all the pieces along the thick, solid lines. 3 Tape the right edge of winter to the left edge of spring; the right of spring to the left of summer; the right of summer to the left of autumn; and the right of autumn to the left of winter. Materials Reproducible pages Scissors Tape Crayons, colored pencils, or markers (optional) 4 Pinch one of the taped edges and tape together along the top and bottom, as shown. Repeat with the other three taped edges. 5 Position the seasons on the circle base, matching each season to its text. Tape the bottom four corners to the dashed lines on the base, as shown. Teaching With the Manipulative Invite students to color, assemble, and read the text on their manipulatives. Then check for understanding by asking them these questions: 1 In which season is the pond most active? (Summer) 2 What happens to the pond in autumn? (The lily flowers and insects are gone. Pond life slows down, and there is less food to eat.) 3 Why is a layer of ice good for the pond in winter? (It protects pond animals from cold winter weather.) 4 What happens to frogs in spring? (They awaken from their winter sleep at the bottom of the pond and lay eggs.) More to Do Food Chains and Webs Invite the class to make a pond food-web poster. Challenge each student to select a pond animal and find out what it eats and what eats it. Have students draw and label their food chains on the poster and figure out how they are interconnected to form a food web. 57

3 Spring Dragonfly hatching Eggs Spotted salamander Algae Swallow Insects Wood duck Frog eggs Bluegill 58 Water boatman Giant water bug Red-winged blackbird Green dragonfly Dragonfly larva Great blue heron Ducklings Bullfrog Summer Mosquito Swallow Tadpole Water lily Whirligig beetles Diving beetle Snail Dace Cattail Caddis fly

4 Autumn Canada geese Mallard ducks Deer Water strider Bullfrog Cattail Green sunfish Water lily tuber Largemouth bass Bluegill Winter Leopard frog Raccoon Painted turtle Ice Owl Monarch butterfly Crow Plankton 59

5 Winter is over, and the pond stirs with life. Days get longer and warmer. Plants start to grow in and around the pond. Frogs and fish lay their eggs. Insects hatch. Soon, there is plenty of food for pond animals to eat. Spring A thin layer of ice forms over the pond water. This protects the fish and other creatures below from the cold winter. Frogs and turtles burrow in the mud at the bottom of the pond to sleep through winter. Everyone is safe from the hungry raccoon walking across the ice. Winter The pond is full of life. Whirligig beetles turn round and round on the water. Ducklings paddle near a heron waiting to catch a fish. Tiny tadpoles swim in the water. A diving beetle carries an air bubble so it can breathe underwater as it catches a snail. Summer Days are shorter, and nights are cooler. The lily flowers are gone, as are most insects. Falling leaves blow onto the water. It is autumn, and winter is not far behind. There is less food for the animals. Pond life is slowing down. Autumn Easy Make & Learn Projects: Animal Habitats 2010 by Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne, Scholastic Teaching Resources 60

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