X-Stream Science is a inquiry-based learning opportunity lead by local experts to connect students to their watershed through real world science. Best suited to students in grades 7-12, X-Stream Science aims to have schools commit to sampling the same location every year to allow quality long-term data to be collected.

It’s experiential

Students get outside to participate in hands-on, scientific inquiry by collecting biological, chemical, and physical data on the water and surrounding land. Content is curriculum- and place-based.

It’s stewardship

Water quality, quantity, and land-use data is collected, analyzed and stored to be monitored and compared over time. This data will help students and decision makers make good choices to help our watersheds.

It’s Hands-on, it’s real life, it’s X-Stream Science

X-Stream Science has 3 parts:

  1. In-class preparation presentation. Watershed experts will provide an overview of the reasons for monitoring, the parameters we will study, and the scientific protocols students are expected to follow.
  2. Stream-Side Experiential Learning. All equipment, materials, and guidance will be provided for this half- or full-day outdoor experience. Students collect benthic macro-invertebrate samples, as well as physical and chemical water and land data.
  3. In-class data analysis and debrief. What is affecting the stream? How does this affect our environment and community? Students will analyze and reflect on the data, then upload it to the website. This could be a starting point for additional stewardship activities.

Why collect water quality data?

The quality of the water tells us if our greater watershed is healthy and if the life that relies on that water is healthy, too. When the water quality is poor (unhealthy), then we know there are upstream or land-use effects that are negatively impacting the water. Once we know this, we can take action to improve things!

X-Stream Science will allow the participants the hands-on opportunity to research, investigate, access, collect data, interpret data and form conclusions on the condition of the waterbody they are monitoring.

The water quality data will be collected from streams across the watershed each year. This data will be used by schools and the Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils to monitor the health of our local streams and greater watersheds. To allow the data to be comparable, we must follow a standardized set of protocols.

Program Resources:

What is X-Stream Science? (Two page handout)

X-Stream Science Leaders Manual






A class stand down at the river on their field trip. A Battle River Sign is in the foreground

XSS Demonstration Video

Notostraca (Tadpole Shrimp)


This program is sponsored by Enbridge.

Enbridge Logo

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