A pond dipping session introduces learning about herbivores, carnivores, predators and the reliance of some creatures on others for food. All the plants and creatures in a pond form a community together. Some rely on each other for their wellbeing and some creatures compete with each other. A group of children have been pond dipping and found mayflies, small fish, water lice, water snails, water fleas, sticklebacks, water boatmen and a great diving beetle. The water snail hides in plants for shelter and also eats the plants. It is a herbivore, a vegetarian creature which only eats plants. A stickleback eats water fleas and is a carnivore. The water boatman has predators such as great diving beetles and sticklebacks, which are in competition for the same food item.
This clip could be used when learning about habitats and the importance of balance in nature. You could first show the clip and then have a closer look at the pond creatures introduced: mayflies, water lice, water snails, water fleas, sticklebacks, water boatman, diving beetles and plants. Perhaps let the children create a diagram of the food chain. Increase or decrease the number of one of the creatures and let the children predict the outcome of this change in population. What impact on the plant life in the pond would an increase of the population of water snails have? What would happen to the water boatmen if there were less or no more sticklebacks?