Lesson Plan

Water Quality - High School (Tennessee)

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Grade Level:
Ninth Grade-College Undergraduate Level
in the park
long-term monitoring, biological inventory, bioindicator, water quality, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, graphing data sets


The Smokies has over 2,100 miles of rushing mountain streams and rivers that flow through the park. In each mile lives a diverse community of native fish, amphibians, insects, and larvae, some of which are found only in the Southern Appalachians. Scientists monitor water quality, fish populations, and watersheds to better understand the dynamics of water running through diverse ecosystems. During this unit the students will assist the park in collecting chemical and biological data.


1) become familiar with the vocabulary associated with water quality monitoring
2) become familiar with the types of water quality tests within water quality monitoring
3) become familiar with the basics of a stream
4) understand the biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
5) recognize that many plants and animals in the park are endemic species, meaning they are known to live only in the park
6) become familiar with the current threats to the water systems within the Park.
7) demonstrate the ability to collect and record data, search for and identify benthic macroinvertebrates, describe threats to streams and stream life, and explain the importance of water quality studies.
8) demonstrate the ability to graph provided data, describe the trends seen from the graph, and communicate the parkwide trends of water quality within the park
9) understand what the term "Stewardship" means and how students can become a steward in their school and their community.

Last updated: April 14, 2015