Water Explorer - Mini SASS

A biomonitoring citizen science tool

Years: 4, 6

Duration: 150mins

Curriculum Objectives: 9

Subject: Science

Resource Overview

Get to grips with the issues that threaten our fresh water before diving in to this water based challenge.

Water Explorers, part of Global Action Plan, have provided this fantastic lesson plan and resources to enable a quality scientific investigation into the health of the school pond or other nearby water source.

MiniSASS stands for a Stream Assessment Scoring System and can be used to monitor the health of a pond, river or other water source and measure the general quality of the water. It uses the composition of macroinvertebrates (small animals) living in rivers and is based on the sensitivity of the various animals to water quality.

For more fabulous resources like this one, check out the Water Explorer school programme at http://www.waterexplorer.org/home  where you can access a wide range of engaging water based lesson plans for free!

Resource Assets


MiniSASS lesson plan

Step by step guide to ease your students through this scientific enquiry


MiniSASS method

Equipment list, method and scoring system


MiniSASS key

A detailed and easy to follow classification chart

Curriculum Objectives

  • Year 3 (Age 7-8)
    • Gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions.
    • Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.
  • Year 4 (Age 8-9)
    • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.
    • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.
    • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.
  • Year 6 (Age 10-11)
    • Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals.
    • Give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
    • Identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.
    • Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.