Stream Life – Background

The character of a stream changes as it flows through the countryside, tumbling over boulders, rushing over rocky cobbles, or gliding over a bed of sand. Streams are homes for fish and salamanders, while animals like mink, raccoons and birds visit them in search of food. If you look closely, you’ll find that a surprising number of insects live underwater in brooks and streams, a seemingly inhospitable environment for these small creatures. How do they meet the challenges of life in fast-flowing water, and why does this environment attract such a wealth of insects?

Streams afford a variety of habitats from noisy cascades to quiet pools, from smooth, straight runs to rough, rocky riffles. The composition of the streambed depends on the speed of the water. Fast-moving water carries away all but the Continue reading Stream Life – Background

Stream Life – Activities

FOCUS: Water in a stream rushes, splashes, tumbles or flows smoothly, creating different conditions and homes for a variety of organisms. In spite of the challenges of life in moving water, the streambed teams with insects. Many feed on plant and animal debris, helping to break down organic material that falls into the water, and they in turn provide a rich source of food for fish, birds, salamanders and other stream inhabitants.

Introduction: Ask the children what animals they’ve seen in a stream.

PUPPET SHOW “The Net Result”

Objective:  To learn about some insects that live in the stream and their roles in the food web. Continue reading Stream Life – Activities

Stream Life – Puppet Show

The Net Result

Characters: Ellie, Dad, Maisie Mayfly nymph, Steven Stonefly nymph, Justin Caddisfly larva

Props: large magnifying lens; coat hanger, scrub brush, bottlebrush or round hair brush

Ellie  Hey, Dad. Is it okay if I stay here while you fish? I want to look for a special rock to take home. I’ve got my magnifying lens with me. (hold up lens) See.

Dad  Okay, but I’m going to move upstream where your splashing won’t scare all the fish away! (exits) Continue reading Stream Life – Puppet Show

Stream Life – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Stream Life – Standards