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University of Idaho Lesson Plan

Name Date
Mikalynn Amos April 25, 2017
Subject Topic
High School Ecology Assessing water quality with Daphnia
The big idea(s) or essential question(s)
How does water quality and various contaminants impact organisms?

State of Idaho and/or common core standards addressed:

LS2-HS-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities
on the environment and biodiversity.
LS1-HS-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting
systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.
LS1-HS-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms
maintain homeostasis.
Objectives (what the students will be able to do as a result of the lesson)

Diversity goals: (where relevant)

o Developing multiple historical perspectives
o Developing cultural consciousness
o Increasing intercultural competence
o Combatting racism, prejudice, and discrimination
o Developing awareness of the state of the planet and awareness of global dynamics
o Developing social action skills
TSWBAT Demonstrate knowledge of the impact various water quality
factors have on organisms and relate that to what it shows us
about larger organisms and food chains.

TSWBAT Understand abiotic factors of water and how they can change
by human impact.

Materials and/or technology

 Image/Video of Daphnia to show location of heart
 Daphnia magnus (order online)
 Concave microscope slide
 Plastic pipette
 Petri Dish (4 per group)
 Stopwatch (phone, clock, etc.)
 Clicker (phone app or manual clicker)
 Spring water
 Fertilizer dilution
 MgCl2 dilution (road salt)
 Herbicide dilution (ex: Round-Up)
 Soap dilution (laundry soap so it doesn’t bubble)
 Presentation on Daphnia
 Presentation on abiotic factors of water

Activities/Procedures (include anticipated time for each)

What is an indicator species? (5 minutes)

Class activities (what you/students will Class activities (why you will do them)
Total class time: 1.5 hours
Lab using Daphnia to test effects
of water quality on organisms

Review previous material and

What are indicator species? Class connect it with new material (1
discussion. (Sensitive, indicators of
various environmental factors)

What kind of things do they indicate

with an emphasis on water? Class
Introduce abiotic water factors
discussion. and recall previous
 pH
 Clarity knowledge/experience with water
 Dissolved oxygen
 Chemicals (nutrients and pollutants) quality (5 minutes)
 Temperature
 Salinity

Introduce Daphnia
 Indicator species
 Arthropods, crustaceans
Background information on new
 Primary consumer, decomposer
o Basis of food chain, high impact on organism being introduced;
 Open circulatory system, quickly understanding why we’re using
react to changes these organisms for the
 Heart rate: 250-300 beats/min
o Changes amplified compared to a experiment (5 minutes)
human heart at only 60 beats/min
 Show image with heart location
and video to show how to find
the heart

Connect the lab to the real world;

What are some pollutants that could
enter our water ways locally? (asterisk understand why we’re using the
shows options for testing) chemicals we’re using
 Herbicides*
 Pesticides
 Fertilizer*
 Soap*
 Road salt*
 Other potential answers
Review lab information
 Pick 3 of the 4 solutions to test Give basic lab information to help
 Measure the heart rate and how
the lab run smoothly (2 minutes)
it changes to assess reaction
 Show where materials are
 Be careful with concave slides
 Have them read lab and ask
Visualization of pollution effects
and learning how different
chemicals affect the organisms
differently (70 minutes)

Class discussion on how Daphnia heart rate changed and general class results

Assessment (how you will know students met the objectives - include rubrics)

Questions at end of lab

Couple of questions over lecture/lab in Friday quiz over week’s material


Used cell phone app for counter; clicker resources available for students without

Critical thinking focused lab questions (many students have gaps in their
education since it’s an alternative school and critical thinking skills are more
useful to them)

(Options for other accommodations but this was the only one needed for this
class in particular)

Reflection/evaluation (after lesson is taught)

Introduction material went well. The explanation was thorough enough that they
understood what they were doing but short enough that they had time to do the

Students enjoyed the lab and were thinking critically about pollution impacts.
It took students a long time to catch the Daphnia and only one student could
catch them at a time. It would be much more efficient to aliquot out the
Daphnia before the lab starts.

Captured Daphnia from the wild, ended up being copepod which looks similar
but is different family. Not transparent, can’t find heart

Students didn’t have enough time to complete the lab with the mix-up of
copepods from local water source and trying to catch Daphnia

Daphnia, once shipped from science supplies company, only have a short life
span (do lab within 1-3 days); we did the lab a week after they arrived and
75% were dead but we still had enough for everyone

YouTube Video:

Name: _________________________________

Daphnia and Water Quality Lab

April 25, 2017

 6 Daphnia
 Concave microscope slide
 Plastic pipette
 Petri Dish
 Stopwatch (phone, clock, etc.)
 Click counter
 Spring water
 Test Solutions:
o Fertilizer solution
o MgCl2 solution (Road Salt)
o Soap Solution (Phosphate)
o Round-Up (Herbicide)

In today’s lab, you will be measuring the heart rate for the microorganism Daphnia and observing how
the rate changes when it is exposed to different pollutants. All the pollutants you will be testing today
could reasonably be found locally in Paradise Creek.

How do you think the Daphnia will be affected when exposed to toxins/pollutants?

1. Collect 6 Daphnia with a pipette and put them in a petri dish with a small amount of fresh

water. Allow them to acclimate for 3 minutes.

2. After 3 minutes, place a single Daphnia on a concave microscope slide (no coverslip) in a

small drop of water. Make sure to get enough water so they don’t dry out but not too much so

they don’t swim around.

3. Pick one person to run a timer and the other to count the number of heart beats. Identify the

heart and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 to get the beats per minute.

Repeat this five times with a new Daphnia each time.

4. Select 3 solutions available to use for testing the response of the Daphnia.

5. Remove 2 Daphnia and put them in a second Petri dish with spring water.

6. Now add the 1 mL of one of your selected solutions to the new petri dish containing 2

Daphnia. Let them sit in the solution for 5 minutes then measure each individual’s number of

heart beat in 15 seconds.

7. Move the 2 Daphnia to the indicated tank. Clean the Petri dish and move your next two

Daphnia to the dish.

8. Repeat step 4-6 with the other two solutions you selected.

Daphnia # Beats/15 seconds Beats/Minute


Daphnia # Chemical Added Beats/15 seconds Beats/Minute







1. Was your prediction correct? Did the results surprise you? Why or why not?

2. Why did we use a control for this experiment?

3. We only tested two Daphnia per solution today. How would you expect your experiment
results to vary if we did more trials?

4. Daphnia is used as an indicator species. They can be used to determine when pollution levels
are too high (“critical”). Devise an experiment using Daphnia that will determine what the

critical level of pollution.