Activity: Slowing Down Pond Creatures the Natural Way

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Viewing protozoa can be quite entertaining, but some of them move so swiftly, it is difficult to see them for more than a second or two.  While there are chemicals that are used to slow them down, we like to provide an obstacle course. Read on for details.

  • Compound light microscope like THIS or one of THESE.
  • Pond, swamp, stream, or puddle water
  • Cotton swab or cotton ball
  • Eyedropper
  • Plain or Concave Microscope Slide
  • Cover Slip


Place a drop of water containing protozoa on a clean microscope slide.

Pull some cotton fibers from a cotton swab or cotton ball, and shred them with your fingers.

Lower cover slip slowly.Place the fibers in the drop of water, and cover with a cover slip, lowering it without trapping air bubbles.

Once the slip is in place, excess water can be removed by placing the edge of a paper towel at the edge of the cover slip.

This should slow the little fellers down, and trap some of them in place long enough for a good look.


John Lind

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