Wetland Versus Stream Macroinvertebrates
To investigate various biomes through observation and comparison of the diversity of life, in particular, the specific number of species, biomass, and type of organisms.
See discussion questions for additional information and some leading questions to help guide classroom discussions.
This lesson is designed in four parts:
- A classroom activity where students discuss differences between stream and wetland systems;
- a field activity where students collect macroinvertebrates from a wetland;
- follow up STEM activities, discussion, data analysis, and presentation of results (see tips on preparing for a water related activity to have a safe and meaningful experience)
- and watershed connections.
1. Ask the students to list differences between a stream biome and a wetland biome (e.g., water velocity, temperature, depth, width, vegetation, sediment, inhabitants). Have students define diversity. Tell them for this activity they will compare the diversity of macroinvertebrates found in a stream to those found in a wetland.
2. Explain to the students that they will be using their data from the activity Who Lives in the Water? to compare with the new data they collect from a wetland biome.
Prepare for Field Activity:
Proper preparation, before entering the field, is important to class safety. Follow the links below for tips for thorough preparation.
1. Set up stations for sampling macroinvertebrates. These areas should be easily accessible and safe to enter.
EACH STATION SHOULD INCLUDE:
2. Divide the students into groups. The groups should be made up of no more than six students to be sure everyone gets to participate. Provide each group with clipboards, pencils, and sorting worksheets. Each group will sample at a different station.
3. Have the students follow the instructions for sampling macroinvertebrates on the macroinvertebrate sampling instruction sheet, and record the information on the macroinvertebrate sorting worksheet.
After sampling, it is beneficial for the students to graph their data in order to understand the activity they have just completed. Some helpful ways to assist students in a better understanding are:
1. Use your data to create graphs and make comparisons. You can view examples of some graphed data here.
- Have the students graph the number of each species or types found at each site. Are there entire groups present at one site, but missing at another?
- Have the students graph the number of individuals found at each site
2. Have the students estimate the biomass (organisms per unit area) at each site.
3. Have the students build Hester-Dendy samplers to collect macroinvertebrates. For instructions click here.
Curriculum and Teacher Materials
Core Alignments By Grade:
Materials and Worksheets:
For Proper preparation:
Worksheets and More: