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Water quality lessons

Class-based lesson and field trip for pupils in years 5 to 8

Discover during the class-based lesson:

Depending on the duration of the class, your pupils will have the opportunity to learn about:

  • the water cycle
  • how streams become polluted
  • how to identify freshwater bugs (macroinvertebrate)

Your pupils will also have the opportunity to practice testing the turbidity, pH and nitrate levels present in water samples.

Investigate during the field trip:

Your pupils will have the chance to put theory to the test. They will measure and record the turbidity, pH and nitrate levels of their local waterway and identify the bugs living there. Once they return to the classroom, they can examine their results and make an assessment on the quality of the water in their waterway.

Frequently asked questions:

Will I need to provide anything for the lessons?

Please provide the following for the class lessons:

  • laptop and data projector to show a PowerPoint presentation from a memory stick
  • whiteboard and marker pens

Please provide the following for the field trip:

  • scoops to collect water from the stream (we can help you design a scoop)

What will I need to do before the field trip?

You will need to:

  • identify a freshwater stream, creek or stormwater pond within walking distance of your school
  • recruit adult helpers to accompany the children to the stream (please refer to your school policy on the correct ratio of adults to children)
  • carry out a risk management assessment

How long will the lessons last?

They will take approximately 1.5 hours although they can be adjusted to suit the school timetable.

Do I need to teach the children anything before the lessons?


How do the lessons link to the curriculum?

Please download the curriculum links.

Are there any posters or materials to support these lessons?

Yes, you will receive a set of posters for your class as well as background materials in electronic format.

You may also like to download the following resources:

Water facts

20 Amazing Water Facts

20 More Water Facts

Water Conservation Tips

Water Pollution Facts Sheet 1A

Water Pollution Facts Sheet 2A

The Water Cycle

A3 posters

Water Supply

The Water Purification Process


Drips and Rainbows

Water Conservation

Macroinvertebrate fact files

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 1 - Dobsonfly

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 2 - Flatworm

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 3 - Water Fleas

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 4 - Water Mites

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 5 - Cranefly

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 6 - Freshwater Shrimp

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 7 - Freshwater Limpet

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 8 - Mosquito Larva

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 9 - Amphipods

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 10 - Mayfly

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 11 - Rat-tail Maggot

Macroinvertebrate Fact File 12 - Leeches


Book a lesson with our experienced teacher Sally Smith. Please email her the information below at ssmith@water.co.nz or phone her on (09) 539 7316.

  1. What is your name and phone number?
  2. What is your school’s name and address?
  3. How many classes in which year group(s) would like to receive lessons?
  4. What lessons are each year group interested in? (e.g. drinking water lesson)
  5. What week(s) would you like to receive lessons? If you are interested in the water quality or bugs lessons, please let us know what week(s) you would like to receive the class-based lessons and what week(s) you would like to take the field trips.
  6. Are there any days that do not suit? (e.g. assembly day or bible class day)
  7. What is your school’s daily timetable? Please let us know the start and finish times of lessons as well as the morning tea and lunch breaks times.
  8. Would you like our teacher to visit your school to brief staff in the term prior to the lessons? If so, please let us know what days would suit and which term you would like the visit.