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Organisms as Indicators of Ecosystem Health (Developed by SEPUP)

kit #555S

Students examine simulated samples of aquatic macroinvertebrates from the same river collected at three different points in time. They calculate the relative proportion of macroinvertebrates that are intolerant to pollution compared with the total catch. These proportions are an indicator of water quality. They identify patterns in the data and construct arguments for possible cause-and-effect relationships.


  • NGSS Performance Expectations

    MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

    MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

    MS-ESS2.A Earth’s Materials and Systems: The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future.

    MS-ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth Systems: Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

    MS-LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.

    MS-LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience: Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

    Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Use an oral and written argument supported by evidence to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.

    Connections to Nature of Science: Scientific Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence: Scientific knowledge is based upon logical and conceptual connections between evidence and explanations.

  • NGSS Crosscutting Concepts

    Patterns: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

    Cause and Effect: Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity: Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.

    Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World: All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

  • Common Core State Standards


    6.SP.B.5: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.

    6.RP.A.1: Understand the concept of a ratio, and use ratio language to describe a ratio between two quantities.


    RST.6-8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Content List in Organisms as Indicators of Ecosystem Health (Developed by SEPUP) is as follows:

Quantity Description
8 sets of three model macroinvertebrate “catches”
24 vials with labels
32 Student Worksheet and Guides
1 Teacher's Guide
Recommended number of students
maximum 32 per class
Number of groups
maximum 8 groups of 4 per class
Number of classes
unlimited (no consumable materials)

To complete this kit will require one to two ~55 minute class periods.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Organisms as Indicators of Ecosystem Health 555S $77.95