Macro Critter Count is a two-lesson curriculum that focuses on the biological assessment of water quality. It targets students in Grades 4th and up. High School biology classes have found this curriculum particularly effective, interesting, and engaging. Macro Critter Count curriculum is aligned to both the Missouri and Kansas State Science Standards.
In the first lesson, students learn the classification of stream organisms and observe detailed features for identification purposes. They also become familiar with the level of sensitivity that stream organisms have when it comes to water pollution. A quick demonstration on how to use kick nets and D-nets is also provided.
The second lesson, occurs at a water site. Students get in a creek with nets to seine for the macroinvertebrates. Students then lay the nets on the stream bank, pick the critters with tweezers, put them under a microscope to identify them. The diversity of the organisms and the number of each kind are recorded on a data sheet and a Water Quality Index Number is calculated.
This curriculum can be modified to fit a 45-minute class schedule or block scheduling. All supplies, equipment, and volunteers are provided by BRWA. Students are required to wear closed-toe shoes while in the creek.