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Marvellous mayflies

Mayfly in the classroom is a project that connects students with the aquatic and terrestrial environment. Tanks containing mayfly are set up in school classrooms over the summer months and various activities are organised to engage students and further their knowledge.

  • Lessons take place to introduce children to the world of mayflies including: their life cycles, the subtle differences in habitat requirements of mayfly species, and diet. The children then look at the mayflies under a microscope to identify how their anatomy is adapted for life in the water
  • Children also learn about food chains, finding out about how herbivores and carnivores are interlinked, and how water quality issues may have an impact on the balance.
  • Away from the classroom, students are taken river dipping for mayfly, and in the process learn how to assess the river health through a biotic score. They partake in a stream dye session to learn where the run off goes and make links with wastewater routes.

Student observations

A tracer session using a harmless, inert dye

Watching the mayflies develop, and eventually hatch, instils an innate instinct to care for the mayfly and therefore their local river.

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