The Stream Ecology Unit (YES-Net) enlists students as scientists as they collect data on the numbers and kinds of aquatic insects found in local streams. This unit is unique in that it focuses on collecting long term data about the changes in the populations of macroinvertebrates. Students gain skills in field work and identification of these critters and have the opportunity to explore and interpret trends in their data as well as data collected by others. In addition, the field trip is surrounded by classroom lessons that teach key concepts such as the effect of abiotic and biotic factors on stream ecosystems, food webs, and data analysis and exploration.
Day 1: Aquatic Invertebrate Life History and Populations
Students will learn about the habitat and life cycle of stream invertebrates with a focus on how the life history of aquatic invertebrates is connected to the terrestrial ecosystem.
Day 2: Ecosystem Connections
Students will be able to discuss habitat needs and feeding habits of specific macroinvertebrates and understand connections that exist between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem.
Day 3: Stream Ecosystem Field Activity
Student will compare macroinvertebrate diversity and abiotic conditions in stream riffles and pools.
Day 4: Working with Macroinvertebrate Data
Students will identify abiotic characteristics of pools and riffles in a stream and analyze, interpret, and display data they collected on during their field trip to Wappinger Creek
Day 5: Introduction to Phenology
Students will be able to explain phenology, and explore how the phenology of mayflies in local stream changes over time
Day 6: Mayfly Data Variability and Analysis
Students will understand how variation in data and sample size help us to make a claim. Students will learn to use "hedging language" in discussing results.
Day 7: Extension Activity: Sticky Traps
Students will be able to discuss the life cycles of common macroinvertebrates and use data to compare macroinvertebrate larval abundance to adult numbers and make inferences.