Aquatic Habitats

Exploring Desktop Ponds

Grades 26

Written by Katharine Barrett and Carolyn Willard

Creating and expanding their own little aquatic worlds over a period of weeks, student groups learn to observe, record, predict, and draw inferences; these are the mainstreams in Aquatic Habitats.

In this compelling and unique series of life-science activities for a variety of age groups, desktop model ponds develop and change over time, allowing students to discover firsthand some of the complex interactions within a typical pond ecosystem.

Unlike clean, filtered aquariums, these aquatic habitats more closely model what happens in the natural world. Plants, worms, snails, fish, and other organisms compete for limited space, food, and resources. Concepts such as life cycles and food webs take on real and memorable meaning as students become increasingly drawn into the drama of life itself.

The GEMS guide Terrarium Habitats makes a wonderful companion to this unit, exploring parallel activity in a terrestrial ecosystem.

Praise for Aquatic Habitats:

"In addition to the basic activities, recommendations for extensions and a field trip to a pond are included. There is sufficient material here for teachers to involve children in four to six weeks of an ongoing inquiry. The book includes comprehensive, clearly stated directions, a list of all required materials, a list of suppliers, and suggestions for substitute materials. The writers also provide teachers with background information, questions to guide the childrenís inquiries, and an annotated list of related curriculum materials and books for children to read. This is an excellent instructional resource, and I recommend it highly."

—Science Books and Films

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ISBN: Grade Level Format Price


Grades 26

5 activities,
136 pages


Lawrence Hall of Science    © 2004 UC Regents. All rights reserved.    Contact GEMS    Updated June 20, 2020