Macroinvertebrates may be tiny but they have a very big role to play in our environment. That’s the lesson students at Newbery Park Primary School in Millicent, South Australia, learned recently during an interactive workshop held by Natural Resources South East (NRSE).
Natural Resources Management education coordinator Damien Bickley made a visit to the school during National Science Week, hosting five sessions which explored the significance of macroinvertebrates sourced from Lake McIntyre, a local lake in the Millicent area.
During the interactive sessions, more than 100 students had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these super-tiny critters, learning all about their role in an ecosystem and their susceptibility to pollution.
Armed with magnifiers and identification charts, students identified back swimmer water mites, water boatmen, damselfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae and mayfly nymphs, to name a few.
Highly sensitive to pollution, the presence of the caddisfly larvae and mayfly nymphs suggests that the condition of Lake McIntyre is really good.
“I learned that this means the water is good because it has algae and lots of macroinvertebrates,” Year 2 student Josh said. “If there weren’t, there might be poison or something hurting the water. We are lucky that Lake McIntyre is healthy.”
According to Newbery Park Primary School senior leader, Karyn Prelc, the students loved the opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in action.
“The conversations I had with the students showed that the workshop was reinforcing what they learned earlier in the year, which is really encouraging,” Karyn said.
“We want the children to grow up to notice the world and understand it, so they can prevent problems but work together to solve things with vision in the future.”
The students will continue their hands-on learning with an excursion to Mount Burr Swamp to plant trees and further study macroinvertebrates – this time in their natural habitat.
If you’re interested in exploring more about macrovertebrates with your Junior Landcarers, Natural Resources South East has created a great range of free classroom resources.