18Feb2016 – Second Meeting Pond Biology

Plan: to continue looking at samples of our pond water under the microscopes, plus learning about paramecium, hydra and ameoebas in depth to begin our study of protists. We’ll also try and start exploring the family tree of the Kingdom Protista, as well as discussing what makes something alive, the importance of cells, and some vocabulary words (to make reading about protists a little easier).

What we did at our meeting:
– – We spent a few minutes talking about the building block of life: the cell. There’s a picture from the previous class of an algae species with green “boxes” that we looked at to show a perfect example of cells (I think this algae is in the Ulothrix family, click here for link to page of images). The cells are attached but are not working as a unit together, but rather are forming what is called a colonial unit of cells: attached together but each working as its own little organism.
– – We also talked briefly about atoms (the smallest unit of a pure element that can still exhibit the characteristics of that element), and someone mentioned molecules. Molecules are the smallest unit of a compound, which is 2 or more elements bonded together to make a new chemical.
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Extra resources and learning links:
Therese sent this article link to a scientist who posts pictures of pond creatures on Instagram:
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/pond-life/463179/
Here’s the Instagram page:
https://www.instagram.com/pondlife_pondlife/
It was SO fun poring over her pictures and descriptions, it is really worth a look!
Kid friendly page explaining different types of protists:
http://www.microscope-microscope.org/applications/pond-critters/pond-critters.htm

Here are some fun videos showing paramecium, hydras and amoebas: