Find a good collection site at the pond. Around the base of plants, rather than open water, tends to be more fruitful.
Fill a large tray with pond water for each student group.
Using a fine net, students scoop from the pond or stream near to plants then invert the net into the large tray.
Alternatively, the teacher collects pond water samples and brings them into the classroom in white tubs (so that the contents can be seen easily).
Students transfer organisms they find in the large tray to smaller trays with a pipette.
Students are assisted in identifying the pond invertebrates they find.
Optional pond identification key at http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/ Pond Life Identification Kit on “Micascapes”
Body parts of Daphnia can be viewed under magnification and compared to a labelled diagram (I used the one on the Micascapes website).
At Central Park pond, we identified Cyclops, freshwater shrimp, worms and Daphnia. In our back yard pond we identified Daphnia, leeches, caddisfly larvae and worms. At Jericho we identified Daphnia, water beetles, water boatmen, worms and shrimp. At Trout Lake we found Daphnia, worms, mosquito larvae, water mites, mayfly nymphs or something similar. Water plants and seeds also caught may be identified.
Ingrid's pond commonly has Daphnia, leeches, thin red worms, caddisfly larvae, sometimes stentor.
All students take notes on what they found, or gather as a group and discuss findings.
e.g. Jericho pond map attachment - students drew what they found in the circle and added an arrow to the location that it was caught at.
If the activity is part of a lesson on habitats and food chains, add each organism found to a white board, then with discussion, link who eats who to form a food web.
This can be done before this pond dipping activity also, with the animals and plants visible above the water, then later linked to those found living in the water.