Water Ecology Lab

Elise Olivieri

Curtis High School, Staten Island

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2009




This lab gets students out of the classroom and into the field.  In this lab, students apply many concepts they have learned thus far in their scientific exploration and puts their skills to use.  This lab can easily be modified so students could test ponds, lakes or rivers.  Allow students to construct their own kits with low cost materials found in the classroom or their homes.  Groups of 4 should spend approximately one class period preparing for the lab by collecting, labeling, and reviewing the equipment and lab worksheets.  The other class period is spent at the site, and the third class period is spent observing organisms in the water and agar, and cleaning up the equipment.  The only thing that the teacher will have to prepare would be the test tubes with nutrient agar.  You may help supply the low cost equipment or ask your lab technician to help round up supplies.


Materials Needed for Field Work:

Materials Need for Lab Work:




Materials Needed for Each Lab Group:



Water Flow Speed and Flow Capacity





Water Appearance





5.      Presence of Life Forms






In field…………………

  1. First note any organisms that you notice by sight in the stream.  Draw what you see on data sheet.

  2. Examine your collected sample with the hand lens.  Note any small creatures found.  Draw what you see on data sheet.

  3. With the pipet, transfer 5 drops of the water sample to your stoppered test tube, and cap the test tube.  Allow to sit for 24 hours.


1.      In Lab…………………

  1. Observe your agar tube for any signs for bacterial growth.  Using the inoculating loop, prepare two slides with the growth on the agar.  Draw your observations on data sheet.

  2. Using water from collecting jar, prepare 2 microscope slides.  Draw your observations on data sheet.


1.      Questions

  1. Why is it it important to monitor streams, and ponds in the environment?





     2.   Does our local community have laws about dumping and polluting this particular stream or pond?  List the laws and the fines.



    3.   What is the EPA?  What is its purpose?


New York State Standards



Earth Science Core Curriculum


Standard 1 Analysis, Inquiry, and Design


Mathematical Analysis


Key Idea 2:  Deductive and inductive reasoning are used to reach mathematical conclusions.


For example: