• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Stream Team

Students wading in a stream to collect macroinvertebrates.
Students wading in a stream to collect macroinvertebrates to use in assessing the health of the stream.
Overview: Students investigate the relative water quality of a stream by conducting a simulated bioassessment by sampling aquatic macroinvertebrates (represented by ordinary materials) in order to prepare for a real-life macroinvertebrate survey that will be conducted with the National Parks Aquatic Resources field team at one of Mount Rainier's streams, rivers, or lakes in order to assess the overall health of that body of water.
Grade Level:
5 - 8
Objectives: Students will:
  • investigate the role that aquatic macroinvertebrates play in determining water quality
  • simulate the process of rapid bioassessment of aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • collect, sort, classify, identify, analyze, and evaluate a sample of materials representing aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • determine a stream's water quality using a pollution tolerance index based on a sample of aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • compare the differences between the relative water quality of different samples
Lesson Plan:
Stream Team - word, 53KB
Stream Team - pdf, 553KB
Resources: Stream Team Data Sheet

Did You Know?

Magenta Paintbrush

The Paradise meadows were once home to a golf course, rope tows for skiers, an auto campground, and rows of tent cabins. All of these activities damaged the meadows, as does walking off-trail. Management practices have changed over the years, and we now protect and restore our precious subalpine meadows.