Pond Water Safari
Lesson Objective: Draw and classify organisms using pond water and prepared slides
Grades 6-7 / Science / Biology

Thought starters

  1. What does Ms. Seay do to initiate and sustain student engagement in the activity?
  2. How are students expected to collect data and come to justifiable conclusions?
  3. How might the research portion of the lesson be customized based on student readiness and ability?
I just finished reviewing the Pond Water Safari lesson for the second time because I wanted to use it again for my 6th graders this year. It was better than I remembered and I saw how I could improve my lessons this year from what I did last Year. Thank you Lisa and the Teaching Channel, Jacque
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I found a planaria once.. great unexpected opportunity to talk about regeneration as planaria cut in half can remake their missing half. The daphnia in this photo is the subject of a college lab where daphnia are exposed to different levels of alcohol -- their heart stops beating when 'intoxicated'... a great take home lesson for students of any age about the unwanted effects of alcohol :)
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Great lesson I would love to see all science teachers making science interactive and fun like she did, awesome lesson
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Awesome job! Watched this at home with my kids (7 & 4) and they were begging to try this. Must make a trip to our local pond soon!
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I loved this! Tried this with creek water instead--awesome results! What an inspiring and creative lesson!
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  • Great Lesson Ideas: Pond Water Safari with Lisa Seay

    Seay: [00:00:08] Hello. My name is Lisa Seay, and I teach sixth

    Great Lesson Ideas: Pond Water Safari with Lisa Seay

    Seay: [00:00:08] Hello. My name is Lisa Seay, and I teach sixth and seventh grade science at Clyde Boyd Middle School in Sand Spring, Oklahoma. The name of my lesson is the pond water safari, or as we say in Oklahoma, pond water safari. [00:00:21]

    [00:00:22] That’s a little air bubble. Today we’re going to be doing the pond water safari, and that’s as good and as Australian accent as I can do. [00:00:30]

    [00:00:30] I go out and collect some of the nastiest, dirtiest, scummiest most algae infested pond water I can possibly find. [00:00:37]

    [00:00:37] Mr. Seay was nice enough to go get this so I didn’t fall in the pond this year, but in your cup there should be some stuff that looks like that. [Laughter] I love that sound. [00:00:52]

    [00:00:52] And we bring it into the classroom and we let the kids examine it through the microscopes trying to find living creatures. Then they have to classify them, and that’s where the learning comes in. [00:01:01]

    [00:01:02] They have to take drawings, they have to do their scientific sketches of these creatures. [00:01:05]

    [00:01:05] then you need to put it in our capture tank. You’re going to come over here, and you’re going to draw a picture of it. [00:01:12]

    [00:01:12] The reason I call it a safari is you’re going to have to hunt for your prey today. Now we’re not going to eat what we find cause that’s just nasty. [00:01:23]

    [kids working 00:01:23 – 01:27]

    [00:01:27] For the past two days, we’ve been looking at prepared slides, and that stuff will just sit there and wait for you to come to it. This won’t. [00:01:34]

    Child: [00:01:35] I can’t find it. Cant’ find it? No, I can’t find it. That’s cause you’re blind. I know. I don’t have my glasses on. [00:01:43]

    Seay: [00:01:43] And they have to understand how things are classified. They’re classified by what parts they have and how they’re put together. [00:01:50]

    Child: [00:01:51] Oh it looks like ant that lives under water. It breathed out its neck like, or breaths out its butt and it uses all tentacles on the side to move like a squid. Pretty cool. [00:02:07]

    Seay: [00:02:06] What’s making it move? Does he have flippers? A tail maybe? [00:02:11]

    Child: [00:02:11] And it’s like—goes like this with its body. [00:02:14]

    Seay: [00:02:14] Like this it had one tail or a bunch of tails? [00:02:16]

    [00:02:16] Six graders are always like Mrs. Seay, I can’t find it. [00:02:20]

    [00:02:21] Mrs. Seay, I can’t find anything. Okay? [00:02:25]

    [00:02:26] You have to be patient. You have to be a hunter. You have to go stalking your prey. And I really like it because as they go, they discover that if you—just like in a real safari, if you put out their food, the animals will come for it. So as they’re making their microscope slides, if you put down the algae for them, the things will come and eat the algae and they’ll stay in one place and you can find them. Because some of these things like the paramecium that we see are really fast. [00:02:51]

    Child: [00:02:51] Oh there’s two with funny eyes. [00:02:52]

    Seay: [00:02:53] Make sure that you sketch this guy. Good job. Those things are fast. [00:02:58]

    Child: [00:02:58] There’s a green thing on the side of him. [00:03:00]

    Seay: [00:03:00] Huh? [00:03:00]

    Child: [00:03:00] He has a little green thing on the side of him. Whoa. It’s like attached to him. [00:03:04]

    Seay: [00:03:05] Whacha got? [00:03:05]

    Child: [00:03:07] It’s like moves real fast. [00:03:09]

    Seay: [00:03:09] Oh sweet. [00:03:11]

    Child: [00:03:11] Oh it’s a little bug it looks like. [00:03:14]

    Child: [00:03:15] Oh my gosh. Hey Kailey 00:03:16, come here look at this. I don’t want to look. It’s like oh it’s swimming around. [00:03:20]

    Seay: [00:03:20] My computer is set up over here in my room, and I have some websites. Now, if this were high school, I would make them do all of the research themselves, but in sixth grade, I have to keep in mind their research skills probably aren’t to that level. So I get a collection of websites from other teachers and colleges and stuff like that. [00:03:38]

    [00:03:39] And it gives you these links that you can use to go to different websites that other teachers have set up to help you identify what it is that you’re looking for. [00:03:50]

    Seay: [00:03:50] Oh man I’m not done yet. Class can’t be over. If you can hit that as a teacher, you’ve done something. I love that. The fact that you get a kid who comes into class, and the only reason they came to school, honestly, was to eat lunch and see their friends, and they might actually get excited about science. They don’t want to be here. You know, maybe after this lesson they will. That’s always my hope. [00:04:14]

    [00:04:15] All you need for this lesson is you need a microscope, you need some really nasty pond water. Internet access is great but it’s not necessary, you can use a book. That’s really all you need. There’s no cost involved. It’s free, and free is good for teachers. [00:04:30]

School Details

Clyde Boyd Middle School
305 West 35th Street
Sand Springs OK 74063
Population: 1217

Data Provided By:



Lisa Seay
Science / 6 / Teacher


TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

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All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration




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