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Try It - Make Stream Sense of Things

In the early days of spring, streams burst with life throughout the Mountain State. This is the perfect time to grab some waterproof boots or waders and discover there's more to flowing water than meets the eye. With this activity everyone should use the senses of smell, touch, sight and sound to observe his or her surroundings. Listen for the sound of running water, feel the sliminess of rocks, look for egg masses and smell the moist earth. Just remember to talk about safety around water before heading out!

  • Pencils and crayons
  • Camera (optional)
  • Tape recorder (optional)
  • Binoculars (recommended)
  • Magnifying lens (highly recommended)
  • Collecting apparatus, such as buckets, tweezers, nets, etc. (optional)
(Paper Divided In Four Squares For Sights, Smells, Touch and Sounds)*

Sensory Observations Sheets - (PDF format, 25.6KB)

Click here to get acrobat reader (You will need Acrobat Reader to view this file)

Go to a stream armed with all your sensory "equipment." Throughout the activity have children write down their observations in the four different categories listed above. They can either draw what they see or describe it with words. It could be the stream's gurgle or the peep of spring peepers. Help with observations by having the children close their eyes to improve their ability to listen and use the magnifying lens to discover small water creatures. At one point have them sit quietly for a few minutes (longer if they are older) and record their observations. They can also record sounds, take pictures or collect material to identify later. Throughout the hike make sure to ask lots of questions: What do you hear? What lives in the stream? How fast is the water moving? Later, have everyone share what's on his or her sheets! Have a great time!

This activity was adapted with permission from the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide (copyright 1995, The Watercourse and the Council for Environmental Education). Teachers and youth leaders may obtain a Project WET guide by attending a workshop. For more information contact the Project WET Coordinator at 304-558-2108.

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