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Students explore water quality concepts and inference in this lesson. They discuss common ways to describe, measure, or estimate water quality and the importance of water quality to the organisms that live in lakes or streams.
First, students play a game using aquatic invertebrate cards. The game describes a method for using aquatic insects to infer the water quality of a stream or lake. The types of aquatic invertebrates living in a particular habitat can tell a scientist a lot about that habitat, for example: is the water fast or slow? Clean or polluted?
Next, students use a standard chemical water quality test for nitrogen and measure turbidity of a water sample. The closing discussion brings together the ecological ideas in previous lessons by considering classification of invertebrates, food webs, decomposition, and habitat quality in aquatic ecosystems.
Students will be able to
This is a very effective case study in teaching students how to carry out a field study. Step-by-step instructions and the supporting handouts are provided and students will respond to the hands-on nature of the activity.
The activity will also strengthen student's generic abilities to gather and analyze data in order to answer focused questions.
The lesson plan may support the teaching of those units of study that explore
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