Today we went pond dipping again, this time as part of a larger group of home educators. It was a 40 minute journey which I found quite stressful as I was tired after a sleepless night, but it was a very successful day and well worth the effort. To call it pond dipping is an understatement, as it was not a pond but a large lake in a beautiful park which I would love to explore more of in the future – especially when I am not on my own with all four children! I was a little on edge to start with as I arrived to find the buggy was not in fact in the back of the car, and after Tiddler’s interpretation of pond dipping last time being “dip yourself in the pond” I would have preferred not to have him on the loose all the time. However, he was very sensible this time and did pretty much what he was told, so he had a good opportunity to catch a few “wiggly fings” (as he joyfully shouted at regular intervals!)
The other three enjoyed having a lot of independence as I couldn’t leave Tiddler for a second, and they all caught some interesting creatures. At the very last minute, Owl caught a dragonfly nymph skin which is causing great excitement as he has been allowed to bring it home. I’m not sure I can remember everything but among other things we found water boatmen, leeches, bloodworms, pond snails, water scorpions, newt tadpoles, water hog lice, water spiders, some tiny fish, and larvae of various insects (mosquito and mayfly among others.) We also saw some damselflies and heard a very noisy marsh frog
We were able to examine our finds more closely back in the classroom, and we looked at a couple of tiny ones using a video microscope which was a wonderful experience. The children were amazed to see so much detail on the screen and then to look at the creatures themselves which were just tiny dots you could barely see. We looked at a ramshorn snail and a water flea, and could see their hearts beating. Then we looked at the dragonfly nymph skin and could even see tiny creatures crawling over its eye.
After the session finished we had our lunch in the outdoor picnic area and the children played for a while, and then we headed back to the carpark, seeing some rabbits on the way. It started to rain just as we were leaving, and the journey back took much longer than it should as I got lost, mainly because I was so tired. I feel thoroughly exhausted now but also that good feeling of having learnt stuff, had lots of fresh air and a successful day out with the children.
Dragonfly nymph skin