EM3050 Activity: Water Life Detectives: Make Your Own Water Scope & Water Creature Coloring Sheet


To learn about the insect life in and around freshwater. 

The health of our local waterways can be detected in many ways. In 30/50 Activity #25, you tested water ph and acidity. In this activity, you will be a Water Life Detective to search out bugs and other living creatures that might indicate the presence or absence of pollutants. To do so, you will make a water scope and explore the edges of local waterways!


Clean, empty plastic beverage bottle
Plastic wrap
Sturdy rubber bands
Insect information sheet
Insect coloring sheet


  1. Rescue a plastic beverage bottle from your recycling bin. With a sharpie, draw two circles around the bottle -- one just below the neck of the bottle, and one just above the bottom of the bottle. 
  2. With an adult’s supervision, use the tip of a sharp knife to cut a slit in the lines drawn. 
  3. Insert scissors into the slit and cut around the bottle, making sure to leave no sharp edges.
  4. Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap and lay on a table. Place one end of bottle in the center of the sheet, and pull sheet up around the bottle, wrapping securely. 
  5. Place rubber bands (should be a tight fit -- if not, find a different size rubber band) around the plastic wrap to secure in place.

    Your scope is ready to use!
  6. Download and print this water creature identification sheet (go ahead and color if you want!) and bring along to the water with you. You might put it in a ziplock bag to keep it dry. 
  7. Explore pond, creek, and river edges with your water scope. Look on top of rocks. Look under rocks. What do you find??

Here’s a description of what you might find and what those bugs might tell you about water health. This image is from Salmon WILD.

Share your photos, journal pages, thoughts, experiences, and/or feedback with us! Post on social media with hashtags:
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Or email Caroline at caroline@theumbrellaarts.org

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