In Week 2 of biology Class, the kids collected 4 samples of pond water, adding a different type of food to each jar—hay, soil, egg yolk, and rice. They then let the cultures sit for 3-5 days. When the containers were opened, they were quite stinky!
The students made slides from each of the cultures and put them under the microscope to look for microscopic organisms. They found a few (the hay culture seemed to be the most prolific), including paramecium and volvox. The volvox was quite fun to watch—it looked like a ball rolling across the slide! We learned that a volvox colony consists of many volvox that form together in a ball shape, each with a flagellum that propels it.
The students were divided into groups of three. While one group worked at the microscope, the others each drew specimens that I found online.
I’m still at a point of figuring out how much we can accomplish in 1 1/2 hours and the best way for six students to share one microscope. Over all, I think it went well, though.