Pond Life

Topics and centers that revolve around nature and the child’s environment are always the most popular in the classroom.  The Pond unit is by far one of my favorite.  During the spring months, students are counting down the days until the end of the year and it can be hard to gain their attention.  However,  when you teach topics that involve frogs, turtles and insects, they easily come around!

For those of you new to teaching or if you are just short on time, I have included a sample lesson plan for 6 days for easy usage of this unit.

To start, I always check for prior knowledge.  I like students to make as many connections as possible in each unit I teach.  
Then, I like to make things more black and white.  I start by introducing animals that live in or around the pond.  First, I place a “Pond Life” sorting label in a pocket chart.  Then, I show the boys and girls pictures of animals and ask them to identify and name each animal.
(Photos are from istock.com)

After all of the animals are listed the boys and girls can pick four of their favorite pond animals and write their names in the boxes.  Then, they can draw pictures of the animals in or near the pond.

Kids love facts.  It doesn’t matter the age!  When you use big words like species and mammals it is sure to catch their attention.  I like the students to know that you can sort animals into different species.  Prior, to sorting, I read five different anchor charts to the students to introduce five animal species that live near or in a pond.  

As I name the species the boys and girls can try to name animals that would fit the description.  Then, they will help me sort animals.

The students will pick two of each species and write their name below the matching label.  This will help them clarify the new information.

Labeling is a great activity for students and it helps reinforce what we have already learned.  The boys and girls LOVE to label the pond.

You can use the anchor chart above when you are first introducing the pond.  There is also a copy where students will tape the words to a blank chart for a large group activity.

Then, students can labels the animals on the recording sheet.
Students can choose a pond animal and glue it to the pond.  Then, they can write the name of the animal on the line to complete this interactive emergent reader.
Students are so proud to share this fun craftivity with their family and friends.  This would make a cute bulletin board!

If I miss talking about the parts of a fish in my ocean unit (which I usually do) I like to revisit in during the pond unit.  This can be a fascinating topic to students!
They love this fish labeling craftivity.  I also like to have the students paint bubble wrap and then press the bubble wrap over the fish for added fun!

At the end of the unit we discuss the life cycle of a frog.  We visited life cycle when we worked on our farm unit, so some students already have an idea of what this mean.  You could also bring up the word metamorphosis for vocabulary building.
 On the first day we discuss the life cycle of a frog I like to use the anchor chart.  We discuss each of the stages.  Then, students complete the cute life cycle craftivity.
On the second day, I have students rebuild the life cycle on the white board using the labels below.
Then, the students label the life cycle on a recording sheet.
If you are lucky enough to know someone that can bring tadpoles in that would be a great bonus science activity!

All of the activities above can be found in Pond Life (and so much more).  Click on any of the pictures above to find the unit on TPT!


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