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: 
Sun, 20/01/2019
Risk assesment checked by: 
Matt Worssam
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Sun, 27/01/2019
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Polly Hooton
Risk Assessment: 

Demonstrate and identify aquatic life using a light microscope.

Hazard Risk Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Specimen collection Risk of slipping/tripping/falling or getting caught by the tide when collecting specimens from pond or rock pool. 3 3 9 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.
In case of injury, call first aider.
2 2 4
Microbes in water Possible infection from infectious microbes in water. 2 3 6 Encourage hand washing after touching experiment. Hand washing facilities made available. Cover up any cuts whilst handling water.
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.
1 3 3
Spillages Slipping on a wet floor. 2 3 6 Clear up spills immediately. In case of injury, call first aider. Use wet floor sign. 1 3 3
Microscope Electrical hazard from microscope, especially in conjunction with water. 2 4 8 If water is spilled on microscope, turn it off, clear up, then turn it on again. Ensure microscope has been PAT tested within the past 2 years. See separate electrical parts risk assessment. In case of injury, call first aider. 1 4 4
This experiment contains mains electrical parts, see separate risk assessment.
Publicity photo: 
Experiment photos: