In this stream exploration lesson, students will predict what kinds of animal life exist in a stream, discuss how the quantity of life changes throughout the seasons and why, examine a Causal Loop Diagram that shows the reinforcing nature of life, explore the stream with nets and plastic collecting cups looking for animal life, share and identify the animals discovered with each other, then check their predictions.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context


  • Students will predict, then discover, what kinds of animals will be found in a stream.

  • Students will be able to demonstrate and explain how the amount of life in a stream changes over time, throughout the seasons.

  • Students will be able to tell what kinds of animals exist in a stream and why they are found there.


Intermediate Science:

Standard 1:  Students understand the nature of scientific knowledge & use the processes of scientific investigation. Students know & are able to do the following:

  • Formulate a hypothesis & make systematic observations.
  • Use appropriate tools to gather, analyze, & interpret data.
  • Provide evidence to defend or refute an explanation.

Standard 3:  Students understand that science is the study of systems and their components using themes of constancy and change, interaction and interdependence, and energy.

  • Change over time

  • Interdependencies

  • Reinforcing and balancing feedback



Systems Tools

  • Stream
  • White/chalk board
  • Paper, writing surface, and pencils for students
  • Small aquarium nets
  • Clear plastic cups, one or two per pair
  • Animals/insects identification sheets
  • Whistle
  • Magnifying glasses
  • 60-90 Minutes
  • Behavior-over-time graphs

  • Causal loop diagrams

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