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How Healthy is your Waterway?

1.5 Hours Per Group
Book Program
Year Levels


Waterways are vital ecosystems providing habitat to many native plants and animals. They are also an important part of human life providing water for residential use and irrigation of crops and livestock. However, human activities can impact the water quality of waterways. To determine the quality of a waterway, biological and chemical tests can be conducted. Biological tests involve sampling and identifying the macroinvertebrates. Chemical testing involves undertaking turbidity, pH, salinity and temperature tests.

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge necessary.

This is a stand alone activity. This program is designed for a school that has a local waterway they wish to study.

Key Learning Question

How healthy is your waterway?

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Learn how to assess the health of a waterway using biological and chemical tests


Students will:

  • Sample a local waterway
  • Use stereo microscopes to view and identify macroinvertebrates in the sample to assess the health of the waterway
  • Use various instruments to sample the temperature, pH, salinity and turbidity of the waterway to assess the health of the waterway

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Science as a human endeavour

  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)

Science – Biological sciences

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)