Pond Life

A selection of organisms from a local pond or rock pool
Useful information
Kit List: 

For Crash, Bang, Squelch! the specimens are acquired by pond dipping around Cambridge
For the summer roadshow and other events, specimens may be acquired from ponds (freshwater) or rock pools (saltwater) locally
Identification charts (sourced from the field studies council)
Pond dipping net and bucket (see Microscopy UK guide to pond dipping)
White trays
Aeration pump, tube and stone
Plastic pasteur pipettes
Possibly a microscope and some petri dishes
Possibly also pH paper, or water testing sticks

Packing Away: 

Empty pond life back into suitable habitat
Thoroughly wash trays/nets


Using identification charts to look at and identify pond life (either with the naked eye or with the aid of a microscope). Can be extended to testing water quality, using invertebrates as indicator species.

You'll have the pond/rock pool water and creatures in a white tray to make it easy to see them. Let the kids choose a creature to identify then use the pictures/flow charts on the identification sheets to help you.


Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Fri, 02/02/2018
Risk assesment checked by: 
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Wed, 07/02/2018
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Risk Assessment: 
DESCRIPTION Demonstrate and identify aquatic life using a light microscope

1. Risk of slipping/tripping/falling or getting caught by the tide when collecting specimens from pond or rock pool.
2. Possible infection from infectious microbes in water.
3. Accidental ingestion of organisms by misbehaving children.
4. Slipping on a wet floor.
5. Electrical hazard from microscope, especially in conjunction with water.


1. Send two demonstrators to collect specimens and exercise caution when choosing location (e.g. make sure there is something solid to stand on near the edge of the water). Check tide tables/observe the tide movement before going to rock pools to collect specimens. Make sure cuts are covered whilst demonstrators are collecting specimens.
2. Encourage hand washing after touching experiment. Hand washing facilities made available.
3. Supervise children and ensure they do not eat anything from the aquarium.
4. Clear up spills.
5. If water is spilled on microscope, turn it off, clear up, then turn it on again. Ensure microscope has been PA tested within the past 2 years. See separate electrical parts risk assessment.

ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT Call first aider in case of injury. If child ingests anything from the aquarium, advise parents to take child to GP if child becomes ill.
This experiment contains mains electrical parts, see separate risk assessment.
Publicity photo: 
Experiment photos: