Activity Overview

Grades: 5th-7th
Length of Time: 30 minutes
Adult Support Needed?: No

Benthic Macroinvertebrates are small animals (usually bugs) that live at the bottom of the San Lorenzo River. Benthic macroinvertebrates are an important food source, help scientists know if there is too much pollution in the river, and eat dead material in the river. In this activity, you will:

  1. Observe benthic macroinvertebrates in the San Lorenzo River
  2. Learn about why benthic macroinvertebrates are important
  3. Choose to either: 1) create a scientific illustration of a benthic macroinvertebrate or 2) create a Public Service Announcement about why benthic macroinvertebrates are important.

Animal Spotlight Video

Join CWC Educator Sam as he observes Benthic Macroinvertebrates found in the San Lorenzo River.

Relates to Next Generation Science Standards:

  • MS-ESS3-3.  Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Thank you to the City of Santa CruzCity of CapitolaSanta Cruz County and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for supporting the Coastal Watershed Council’s Watershed Rangers environmental education program.

To all of the Watershed Rangers students, teachers and program partners, although we will not be able to see you in classrooms, field trips and after school programs right now, we hope to provide you and your loved ones with online resources and activities during this time. We know that parents, teacher and lifelong learners are seeking ways to stay engaged and active, and we’re going to be working to bring activities to you through the Coastal Watershed Council blog. Please share these resources and activities with friends, neighbors and parents groups and stay tuned for more.

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