Water Holes to Mini-Ponds

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Dig a hole, line it, fill it with fresh water, and you have a water hole: a good place to study colonization. In this outdoor activity, learners create a controlled experiment to study the effects of fertilizer on colonization. Learners create two water holes, one of which uses fertilizer as a variable. Through regular visits to the water holes over the course of eight to ten weeks, learners observe and compare changes. In the process, learner gain a better understanding of the scientific method.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:
1 to 12 months

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • hoes
  • shovels
  • 2 children's wading pools OR plastic sheeting
  • burlap
  • duct tape or string
  • hoses or buckets
  • lawn fertilizer
  • 2 data boards
  • colored marking pencils
  • observation aids (bug boxes or hand lenses, clear plastic cups, spoons, aquarium nets, etc.)
  • 1 thermometer
  • 30 cm rulers or meter sticks
  • copies of OBIS Pond Guide


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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