Educational Material

Printed copies of all materials are available for the asking from the Biodiversity Institute. Looking for something not here? Let us know what identification guides or other materials would be useful to you and your students, and we’ll see what we can do. Contact us at

Wyoming's Stream Macroinvertebrates

Companion lesson plans for the Biodivesity Institute Wyoming's Streams Macroinvertebrates Guide. Lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and wetlands are full of life.  Many plants and animals live in water and these organisms can be very abundant.  All of these organisms are interesting, but we will focus on aquatic invertebrates in these lesson plan starters.  

Tropic Relationships

Sampling Aquatic Inverts

Links and Additional Resources

There are a number of websites with many ideas for incorporating aquatic macroinvertebrates into the classroom. Here are some suggestions:

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Lesson Plans, Utah State University. Grades K-12 (mostly K-6), field and classroom activities.

Coloring book from the Utah State University site. Grades K-2.

Macroinvertebrate Mayhem, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Grades 3-5, classroom or playground.

Feeding the Hungry Stoneflies, University of Montana. Grade 5. Classroom (optional field trip).

Wyoming Stream Team manual, Teton Science School. Grades 4-12, many suitable for MS and HS, field activities. Biological monitoring begins on page 96.  Information about Wyoming Stream Team can be found at

Simulation of Cutthroat Trout Life History, University of Montana. Grades 5-12, classroom. (This one isn’t about macroinvertebrates, but it is aquatic.)

Water What-ifs: Water Quality and Aquatic Macroinvertebrates, North Carolina State University. Grades 6-12, field and laboratory (includes experimental manipulation of water quality).

Biodiversity: Diversity in a Leaf Pack - Pathways Project, an NSF funded project with Colorado State University and partners. Grades 6-12, field and lab. This semester-long unit includes learning progressions and 13 lessons. The pdf is available here.

Save our Streams, Izaak Walton League. Intended for adults, but several good resources, including a video on aquatic macroinvertebrate identification.

If you are interested in learning about professional water quality monitoring in Wyoming, check out THE WYOMING STREAM INTEGRITY INDEX (WSII) – MULTIMETRIC INDICES FOR ASSESSMENT OF WADEABLE STREAMS AND LARGE RIVERS IN WYOMING, by E.G. Hargett, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, 2011.

WyoBio, the Wyoming Biodiversity Citizen Science Initiative, has maps of watersheds, gauging stations with links to USGS data, information on impaired waters, climate data, and many other geographic and biologic data sets that may be useful for classroom research. In addition, WyoBio accepts observations of organisms, including invertebrates, and encourages classes to contribute data.

Biodiversity Institute Wildflower Crossword Puzzle:

How well do you know our native wildflowers? Match the pictures with the names, then fill in the spaces with common names to complete the crossword. Many of the flowers you find in this crossword puzzle you will find growing in Wyoming.

  • Click here to download and print the wildflower crossword puzzle.
  • Did you finish the puzzle?  Are you sure?  Click here to download the puzzle solution.
  • Did you answer the five questions listed next to the puzzle?  Click here to check your answers and learn more.

UW Insect Museum and Biodiversity Institute's Insect Trivia Puzzle:

Think you know your bugs, or want to learn more?  Test out your trivia skills by completing the insect trivia crossword puzzle.

All puzzles were created by Dorothy Tuthill, Biodiversity Institute Associate Director.


Key to the Conifer Trees of Wyoming

Learn to identify all of the cone-bearing trees of Wyoming with this nifty little guide. The dichotomous key will lead you to each of the twelve species, so you never have to say just “pine tree” again! This pocket-size key is designed to be folded length-wise first, then into fifths.

Leaf Shape Bingo Cards

Here's an activity to get kids looking for many different kinds of plants. Leaf shapes are green and leaf arrangements on the twig are purple, so some plants will fill both a purple and a green square. Set includes 10 different cards. We laminated ours for use over and over.

Download here



Pollinator Masks

Show your admiration for pollinating insects by becoming one! Decorate realistically or fancifully with crayons or markers, and cut out the eye holes (for human eyes; large black circles or circles with X). We used pipe cleaners for antennae (insert through the small holes indicated with small black dots) and tied on some elastic. For the bee-fly, fold proboscis in half and tape on just below the antennae. 

Beefly Mask

Bumble Bee Mask

Beetle Mask

More pollinator resources can be found here.