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Educator Resources

Class Discussion

Establish Prior Knowledge

Call on students to describe what a healthy stream might look like. Have them include the banks of the stream as well as the stream’s inhabitants. Then ask students to speculate how new roads or a housing development might impact a healthy stream. Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see, researchers investigating streams in North Carolina are assessing how developed land can affect aquatic life.


Have students view the snapshot and read the synopsis. Tell students that several water quality standards are used to assess stream health. Working in small teams, have students research one of the questions below:

1. How does sediment enter a stream and what is its affect?

2.  What effect does an overabundance of nutrients have on stream health?

3. How do bacteria and toxic chemicals enter a stream and what are the affects?

4. Why is temperature and dissolved oxygen important to the health of stream inhabitants?

5. How do plants and trees on the banks of a stream keep the stream healthy?


When teams have finished have them report their findings to the rest of the class, pose the following question:

  • How will the study done by researchers keep streams healthy?