a Pond Viewer so you can immediately see microorganisms and
other material in a sample of pond water. It can be made
from wood scraps, Plexiglas, rubber tubing, nuts and bolts.
can vary. The one illustrated here is 9" x 12".
You will need two pieces of Plexiglas (cut at many hardware
stores) at least 2" larger in each dimension that
the viewing area you want. Select pieces of wood that are
at least 3/8" x 3/4" to minimize splitting. You
will need two pieces for each vertical side and two for
the bottom of the Viewer, since the wood makes a partial
frame on the outside of each piece of Plexiglas.
of your Viewer stays open for scooping water. The whole thing
is assembled like a sandwich. The sides and bottom are sealed
using a continuous length of 1/2"
diameter plastic tubing between the two pieces of Plexiglas.
Drill the wooden pieces and the Plexiglas and run small bolts
through those holes. Three to five washers (depending on how
flexible the tubing is) should be used between the Plexiglas
pieces so the bolts can be tightened evenly.
the sandwich is not difficult, but here are a few useful
to drill holes so that the outside edges of your wooden
pieces are about 1/2"
inside the edge of the Plexiglas. This will make for a
- To avoid
cracking the Plexiglas, first drill very small diameter
holes, then drill the size you need for your bolts.
you tighten the nuts (or wing nuts), work around the Viewer,
tightening each nut a little bit, then go 'round again
to get even pressure on the plastic tubing.
have completed this window-like apparatus, attach a string
at the top corner bolts to allow you and your students to
take samples at various depths. You could bolt a thermometer
to the Viewer as well. Your Viewer will provide many opportunities
for observation, drawing, discussion and other forms of data
collection. Plan to look at the water in the Viewer, and
also remove the water samples for observation using microscopes
and hand lenses.