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Macroinvertebrate Mayhem! Investigating Our Local Watershed

Target Grade or Age

Grade Level: 5th - 12th

Our talented team of Museum educators are committed to providing an engaging experience that brings SOL-related content to life for your students. We bring passion and energy to each program to ensure the highest level of impact and retention. To learn more about this program, click on one of the format options listed below.

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Duration: 90 minutes

Mariners’ Lake is home to many fascinating animals, from snapping turtles to great blue herons to minnows, but macroinvertebrates are the lesser-known creatures. Benthic macroinvertebrates (bottom-dwelling invertebrates that can be seen with the naked eye), are the backbone of the Mariners’ Lake ecosystem. In this MWEE-style program, students will take a hands-on approach to learn about the lake’s health by collecting, sorting, and identifying freshwater macroinvertebrates from leaf packs in The Mariners’ Lake. Students will also measure water quality (physical and chemical tests) in the field using various tools. The class will compare the viability of physical and biological indicators in measuring the habitat quality of an aquatic environment. The ending discussion will focus on human impacts throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and how they have affected freshwater environments and macroinvertebrate communities.

Please note: this seasonal program is offered from April 1 – October 15.

Learning Objectives

Students will gain a better understanding of: 

  • Freshwater habitats and biodiversity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,
  • Water quality in a field environment, and 
  • The impacts of human activities on water quality within the Bay watershed.

Science (VDOE 2018):

  • Elementary: 5.1 (a, g, h, i), 5.5 (b, c), 5.6 (b, c), 5.7 (g)
  • Middle:  6.1, 6.5, 6.6 (b,d), 6.7, LS.1, LS.4, LS.6, LS.8, LS.9 (b,c), LS.10 (a,c), LS.11 (d,e), PS.1, PS.2, PS.8, PS.9
  • High: ES.1, ES.2, ES.8 (e,f), BIO.1, BIO.2 (a), BIO.8, CH.1, CH.5 (a)


Payment can be made before the program, or we can invoice following your program.

  • Programs at the Museum are $4.50 per student.
    All adults accompanying a field trip are free.
  • Programs at your location are $4.50 per student.
  • Virtual education programs are $125 per program.

Reservations are required for all programs and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs fill quickly in the fall and spring, so make your reservations a minimum of two weeks in advance.

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