Don your boots. Grab a bucket, kick net, and water-testing kit. Then, head for the nearest creek for a great adventure. Discover all sorts of creatures and plants that live in this aquatic habitat. Investigate the health of the creek and its impact on the overall environment. Observe and chart change over time by returning to the site more than once. Be sure to follow safety procedures and to return everything to its original location. Prepare for your journey by visiting these Web sites for information and lesson ideas.
Delta Labs, a nonprofit organization, sponsors the Adopt-A-Stream program for all ages. A 12-step guide leads you through the process, from registration to the actual stream analysis. An excellent article, "Testing Water Quality," is a must-read for teachers. The Water Detectives (grades 4-8), The Ecological Exploration (grades 6-9), and The Ecological Integrity (grades 9-12) teaching guides and student workbooks are available on CD-ROM for a nominal cost.
Aquatic Education—Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a variety of materials for educators and youth leaders. For younger children, download the Aquatic Animals Activity Book that contains dot-to-dot, coloring, and drawing pages with a sentence describing each animal. If you need quick information with color illustrations, click on Aquatic Habitat and Species Fact Sheets. These are organized by category on one page for easy access. Be sure to read Goin' with the Flow, a hands-on lesson about the riparian zone of waterways. It includes complete details on how to plan and implement the project, including a time line, activities, and resources.
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