Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Is our Stream Healthy? - Section 2: Independent Practice


The process of drafting a conclusion with supporting evidence can be daunting for many students. In this lesson, the process is complicated further because the presence of pollution tolerant macroinvertebrates tells us little about stream health.

Many students can successfully write a supported conclusion in this lesson. To ensure success for all students, I scaffold this process for my struggling learners. To aid my struggling students, I typically pull a small group to a central location and have the student group create their conclusion collaboratively. We begin by selecting a word that best describes each student's opinion of water quality. We then vote to select the word which best represents the group's opinions. I then ask students to review the macroinvertebrate species that they identified in the prior lesson. This is often the step of the process that is most confusing for struggling learners. Pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates can only live in clean, cool water so when we find them in abundance, this tells us that the water quality is high. Pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates can live in many conditions so we can find these specimen in both healthy and unhealthy stream ecosystems. To scaffold the process of selecting data for these struggling learners, I direct them to use only the presence or absence of pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates (most often mayfly, caddisfly, and stonefly larvae) to support their conclusion. By taking pollution tolerant macroinvertebrates out of the process, I remove a level of complexity for my struggling learners. 

  Guiding the Process of Conclusion Writing
  Grappling with Complexity: Guiding the Process of Conclusion Writing
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Is our Stream Healthy?

Unit 5: Macroinvertebrates
Lesson 6 of 6

Objective: SWBAT construct and argument about stream health based on the presence of macroinvertebrates.

Big Idea: Analyzing the type and number of macroinvertebrates found in the stream system can enable us to make judgments about overall water quality.

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2 teachers like this lesson
Science, Environmental Education, observations, insects, Streams, benthic macroinvertebrates
  50 minutes
october stream
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