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Assessing Water Quality with Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

Use macroinvertebrates to assess water quality.
In-Booth Demonstration

In-Booth Demonstration

Life Science

Environmental Science


Middle/High School

Use this introductory activity to familiarize students with the types of macroinvertebrates they may collect in a local stream or as a review activity on biotic water-quality calculations. The macroinvertebrate cards can be grouped as stream macroinvertebrate “samples” for students to practice identifying species using a key and then calculating biotic index and stream health. Depending on the number of stream samples students are asked to evaluate, the activity can take 15 to 45 minutes. The activity supports 3-dimensional learning and builds toward the following:

  • NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practice: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • NGSS Core Idea: Life Science 2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics and Earth Space Science 3: Earth and Human Activity