Day 4: Collection/Investigation of Leaf Packs


Students collect leaf packs and investigate their contents.

Lesson Overview

Students look for and classify macroinvertebrates found in the leaf packs.

One Class Period
  • Bucket
  • Leaf Packs
  • Small Containers
  • Petridish
  • Stereomicroscope
  • Live insect forceps


- Students use a large bucket to remove their mesh bag from the steam, being careful not to lose any macroinvertebrates it contains.  Students can use a sifter to subdivide the bucket’s contents into smaller containers, where group members methodically remove all macroinvertebrates from the leaf litter.  Each macroinvertebrate removed, identified to Order using laminated flashcards, and counted/tallied on the laminated “Macroinvertebrate ID and Tally Chart” using a permanent marker (which can be washed off with chemical cleaners, but not just stream water).  See for additional data sheets.

- A few macroinvertebrates of each order are placed in a separate container with a small amount of water to be taken back to the lab for ethanol preservation and identification to Family using stereomicroscopes, petri dishes, live-insect forceps, and the “Family-Level Key to the Stream Invertebrates of Maryland and Surrounding Areas.”  This activity can be completed at any point during this investigation or after this investigation, and students can investigate the various anatomical differences and adaptations of the various macroinvertebrates which may suggest why some are more or less abundant and/or more or less tolerant to various stream habitat conditions.


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