COSM

Leaf Pack Experiment

Activity Summary
Leaf decomposition is an important source of food for many macroinvertebrates and thus a building block of life in aquatic systems. The leaf pack experiment activity is a three part activity that spans several months. Students begin by examining the scientific method and then make and place a leaf pack into a local aquatic ecosystem (pond, stream, creek, etc) where it will
stay for 1-3 months. Upon removal the pack can be used to assess decomposition rates, macroinvertebrate communities and health of an aquatic ecosystem.

Grade Levels
9-12

Learning Objectives
1. List the steps of the scientific method
2. Make a hypothesis and determine its accuracy upon completion of the experiment
3. Explain the importance of a leaf pack in environmental monitoring
4. Analyze and display data
5. Explain the process of leaf decomposition in an aquatic environment
6. Identify aquatic macroinvertebrates using a dichotomous key
7. Define and use the biotic index to determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem

Lesson Materials (view or download)
PowerPoint Day 1
PowerPoint Day 2
PowerPoint Day 3
Lesson Plans

Keywords
water quality, decomposition, aquatic environment, scientific Method

Last updated: 6/16/2015

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