Striders and Boatmen of the Vernal Pond

Water Striders & Water Boatmen

During the last years of my teaching career, I was fortunate enough to be transitioned to the science lab where I was tasked with developing a science curriculum for grades K-6. One of the units I created was a water unit which brought children to the vernal ponds and water bodies that surrounded our school district. (Now scroll down and move your mouse around for a surprise!) 


I began this study in kindergarten, introducing 5-year-olds to the characteristics of a freshwater pond. I felt it essential that they realize there was more to a vernal pond than just the plants and animals they might notice at first sight, like ducks or frogs. Therefore, a large part of the field trip to the pond included scooping the pond water for the unseeable! The children were in awe of the “bugs” we poured out into observable clear containers.

Two of the favorites and most common were the water strider and the water boatman. Water striders look like spiders walking on water. How fascinated the students were to watch them skittering across the surface of the water. Boatman insects were my favorite since their name describes what they appear to be doing–rowing a boat! They are very common in most freshwater ponds and provide a wonderful food source for turtles and frogs.

Watch the video below!

Moonglow is "full of wonder and magic."

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