Summary: Students watch a student-produced animated video about macroinvertebrates and stream health.
Concepts to teach: Aquatic habitats and species natural history
Goals: Students explain the importance of benthic macroinvertebrates and how their presence or absence can indicate stream health.
3.2L.1, 4.2L.1, 5.2L.1
- Define the term benthic macroinvertebrate and identify common characteristics and examples.
- Describe the role of macroinvertebrates in stream ecosystems.
- Explain how macroinvertebrates can be an indicator for stream health.
Activity Links and Resources:
- StreamWebs—This student stewardship network from OSU Extension provides open-source, web-based tools for watershed data management, analysis, and networking for teachers and students. Includes a data sheet for assessing stream health through macroinvertebrate sampling.
- The Ponds and Wetlands Exploration lesson plan from the Oregon 4H Center outlines outdoor aquatic sampling and is based on the Project WET “Water Canaries” lesson
- Visit the Oregon 4H Center for a field trip
- Apply the lesson plan to a pond and wetland near your school
- The 550-page Stream Scene curriculum is available in .pdf format on the ODFW website, and covers a variety of watershed topics. The chapter Aquatic Organisms contains two macroinvertebrate lessons:
- Build a Bug, p. 319—“Students work in small teams to build an aquatic insect model out of simple materials.”
- Water Wigglers, p. 335—“Students collect material from microhabitats within a determined reach of stream. Invertebrates are taken from these samples and sorted into feeding groups. A count is kept of each feeding group on the data sheet and the percentage of each group/habitat is calculated.”