Identifying the pond creatures

The first session of school visits are now complete and we have had some great responses from both the children and the teachers. The live webcams have been providing the schools with a remote view of animal life at specific locations around the reserve. To build upon this, the first group of school visits gave the children hands on experience of some of the creatures that live in the freshwater habitats. However it was also explained to the children at the start that they will be sharing their experiences and the information they learn during the morning with other schools through a live broadcast in the afternoon.

Discovering the creatures that inhabit our ponds

Investigating pond creatures

We began with a pond dipping session providing the children with the opportunity to experience where the animals live as well as collecting a few for study. These pond animals were taken back to the lab for further study and the rest returned to the pond. The message of treating the animals with respect was reinforced throughout the day. In the lab the children had the opportunity to start to identify the pond creatures and observe how they moved, their body shape/limbs, to consider what they might eat, what might eat them, how they breathe underwater etc.

Learning about the creatures they found

Observing pond creatures

10 creatures were selected to feature in the live broadcast and a Q&A session with the freshwater biologist, demonstrating these creatures live through a USB microscope and projector, provided a chance for the children to gain more knowledge and also to ask questions. The creatures were allocated to children who in pairs would present each creature in the live broadcast.

Presenting their work online

After lunch the children put together their broadcast script coming up with their own presentation style and deciding on the information that they wanted to share with their audience. The broadcast took place in the studio set up and run by the RLL! Project Director. Children not presenting creatures had technical roles such as controlling the camera filming the broadcast, the creature cams, sound boom and lighting. Following a brief rehearsal, the children presented their creature in a 2 minute slot, while the live creature was projected on a screen behind them. At the end of the day the children were led back to the pond where the remaining pond creatures were returned to their natural habitat, emphasising again the need to treat even the smallest creatures with respect.

The resources on the website were explained to teachers including the live streams, video library, school broadcast library and daily digests – many of the latter can be used to expand on the themes covered during their visit.

Participating Schools first visit

  • 20th April Hove Junior
  • 21st April St Pancras
  • 22nd April Framfield
  • 23rd April St Joseph’s
  • 24th April St Bartholomews
  • 27th April Firle
  • 28th April Nature Corridors for All
  • 29th April Rodmell
  • 30th April Icklesham
  • 1st May Hove Junior
  • 5th May Priory
  • 6th May Mile Oak