In this activity, students collect and observe macroinvertebrates from a local freshwater stream.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- recognise that invertebrates are part of freshwater ecosystems
- safely capture freshwater macroinvertebrates for observation
- group macroinvertebrates according to observable features.
Download the Word file (see link below) for:
- introduction/background notes
- what you need
- what to do
- extension ideas.
Nature of science
Observation is a key component of science. Observation can happen at many levels – from carefully looking at creatures while working at the water’s edge, through to full identification and classification.
Discover more about New Zealand’s aquatic insects.
Environmental DNA is a tool scientists use to monitor freshwater ecosystems. Find out more about environmental DNA and use this hands-on and feet-on activity to ‘sample’ eDNA in a lake system.
Macroinvertebrate monitoring is an important part of measuring stream health. There are numerous freshwater monitoring guides available. Check with your local regional council for resources and kits specific to your area.
- The Department of Conservation has a more detailed guide to Freshwater ecology inventory and monitoring.
- NIWA’s Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit enables non-scientists to collect consistent, scientifically valid information.
‘Wonderful Water’ by Philippa Werry (Connected 3 2004) describes a class investigation of two Wellington streams.
‘The Water Wardens’ by Alan Bagnall (Connected 2 2002) tells how a class is inspired to adopt a nearby stream.