Sample Submission--Culvert Project

Background for Teachers

You now have samples from your field event in your classroom, and it is time to submit the samples for analysis. The turn-around time (the time the lab gets your samples to the time you get your results) for identification is variable. You should probably submit your samples immediately after you have returned from the field.

You will be submitting two samples (or one sample per stream reach sampled) to the lab for analysis.

The person at the lab who will analyze your samples may NOT be any of the scientists working on the project. It may be a lab technician. This person has essentially no idea what you are doing or why. You and your class are in charge of knowing what you are sending in. The only way you can track your samples is to know what you are sending in, what you are calling the samples (that sample ID).

Fill out a Chain of Custody form. This form tells the lab what you are submitting – again, the lab doesn’t know what we’re doing, so you need to give them the information.

Chain of Custody

Contact Acadia Learning staff or project scientist Hannah Webber to arrange for samples to be either dropped off (by you), picked up (by us), or sent to the lab via FedEx. It is important that the lab has a heads‐up when things are arriving.


  • Successful transfer of samples to lab for organism identification


  • Students will submit samples, accompanied by a Chain of Custody, to the lab for analysis

Where does this lesson happen in the Project?

This is the fourth lesson in Unit 4: Field Sampling to Support Your Claim. This activity concludes Unit 4.

Getting Ready

  • Print the Chain of Custody form
  • Locate the samples that have been collected
  • Have a packing/shipping box ready


  • Chain of Custody form
  • Samples
  • Packing and shipping box
  • Packing tape
  • Student research questions

Handouts (see also Lesson Resources)

    As there is need for only ONE Chain of Custody form it is not listed as a handout

Student Prerequisites

  • Students must know where the samples were collected and their own questions

Time Needed

One class period. If you have more than one section of a class working on this project you may only have the classes decide which samples to send and then have one class do the paperwork and prepare the samples for delivery.

Doing the Activity

  • Fill out the Chain of Custody form
  • Put the samples in the packing/shipping box.
  • Put the Chain of Custody in a zipper bag and tape it to the underside of the top of the box.
  • Seal the box and address it to:

Macroinvertebrate Analysis
C/O Hannah Webber
SERC Institute
P.O. Box 277
Winter Harbor, ME

  • Put the box in the location where you have arranged for it to be picked up (you will have already made arrangements for the delivery of the samples to the lab).



Ask students to think about how many data points they need to answer their questions.


Ask your students to design a research plan to capture seasonal or spatial change in a whole river system (anything seasonal or spatial) but they only have funds for three samples. This truly happens all the time in environmental sampling.

Lesson Extensions and Supplements

Students research Chains of Custody- whether for a criminal investigation or in sustainable forestry practices.

Lesson Resources

    Chain of Custody form

This Activity is included in: