Teacher Resources


Mississippi Videos

Project Overview


Earth Trails: Mississippi Frequently Asked Questions

This sections attempts to help you with any technical problems you may experience. A number in parentheses indicates the page number of the Teacher Guide where you can find more about the topic. If you don't see a solution to your problem here, visit the companion student site.

The Teacher Guide is another valuable resource for you. PDF files of the Teacher Guide, Producer Handbook, and other materials are available on our Web site.

Technical Troubleshooting

Help! We're stuck in the program
Web site

Feature production
Finding content within the program
Getting around
Instructor Mode
Starting the program

After installing the program on a machine running Windows XP, the program does not launch. The installation may have failed to install QuickTime. You will need to install QuickTime for the program to run. The installer for QuickTime version 4 is provide on the CD-ROM, or the latest version (5), can be downloaded for free on the Web at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
My student got stuck in the swamp at the "Priority Problems" computer in the shack.

When at the Priority Problems kiosk (computer desk), the "EXIT" and "RETURN" buttons disappear, leaving the student no way to exit the kiosk. This happens particularly when the student loads saved sessions.

There is a FREE upgrade that fixes this problem (found only on version 1.2) If you chose not to install the upgrade, use the travel feature of the Amadeus Media Composer to travel to different location.

The students relaunched the program and entered their passwords, but their assignments were missing. There is a FREE upgrade that fixes this problem (found only on version 1.2). If you chose not to install the upgrade, have your students load their sessions using the "load session" button in the OPTIONS menu. Do not open a session from their saved folder located on your desktop - go through the OPTIONS menu instead.
The Web site isn't loading correctly.

Check to make sure you have a browser (e.g., Netscape, Explorer) installed.

Check to make sure you have Internet access.

QuickTime isn't working. Try reinstalling QuickTime from the CD installer disc. If that doesn't work, reinstall the program.
The program is asking for a plug-in and system profile. This could be a problem with your plug-ins if you haven't used Internet Explorer before. Go ahead and set up the profile, but you don't have to save the browser as your default browser.
The movies do not play smoothly. Your computer may not be fast enough to handle the movies.
Make sure QuickTime is installed correctly.
(IOWA ONLY) This is a conflict with Mac OS 9. Download the free update to resolve this issue.
The movies do not play at all. I get an error message. QuickTime didn't load properly. Quit the program and reinstall QuickTime from the CD-ROM.

I am experiencing the following problems on a Windows machine:

-The program does not play sounds correctly.
-The program does not play any sound.
-The program crashes.

First, make sure that QuickTime is installed. The installer can be found on the Earth Trails: Mississippi River CD-ROM. If these problems persist, this may be due to a problem with your Sound control panel. To solve this problem:
1. Close the Earth Trails: Mississippi River application if it is still running.
2. Open the "Control Panel" folder (start\settings\control panel).
3. Double click on the QuickTime control panel.
4. Select "Sound Out" from the popup menu
5. Select 'waveOut' from the "Choose a device for playback" popup menu
6. Close the "QuickTime Settings" window
7. Restart the Earth Trails: Mississippi River application.
(Macintosh Only) I click on the application icon located on the CD-ROM, and nothing happens. Clicking this icon only works if the program has already been run once. You must first make sure the program is installed. Once installed, you will need to first run the program from the hard drive (located within the Mississippi River folder on the hard drive). Once you have run the program the first time, you will then be able to launch the program from the CD-ROM.

What activities does this package include?
There are thirty-four classroom activities for you to use in your language arts, math, social studies, and science classrooms. A list of brief descriptions is available on this Web site and in the Instructor Guide.

How do I use the activities with my students?
There are teacher and student versions of each activity. If you can, hand out student copies. Each activity has a background section, vocabulary, instructions, and assessment.

What are assignments? (14 - 33)
Assignments are the projects students work on while in the program. A complete list of assignments is available in the Teacher Guide. Each assignment has four section (six in the teacher version): Topic, Information, Requirements, and Rubric (Overview and Trail Mail in the teacher versions). Assignments are always available to look at within the program except for the assignment rubrics. Assignment rubrics are available in the Producer Handbook (for students) and in the PDF files located on the CD-ROM.

Where are assignments saved? (back cover)
Assignments that your students work on during their sessions are saved to a folder called "Saved Sessions." This folder is saved within the Mississippi River folder. You can also direct students to save their assignments to another location, like a server or alternate folder.

My students can't find their assignments.
The default location of all assignments is in the Mississippi River folder located on the hard drive of the computer. There should be a folder called "Saved Sessions."

How do I assess the students' assignments? (34 - 35)
An assessment rubric is available for every assignment. In addition, there is an assessment rubric called Cornerstones of Quality that assesses grammar, usage, and mechanics; content organization; content accuracy; and media selection. You can also create your own assessment rubric. There is a template in your Teacher Guide on page 35.

How can my students work on a feature production?
Students can work on a feature productions after they have completed and submitted three assignments. A feature production is, in essence, a blank assignment template. Students working on feature productions are responsible for everything, including the topic and assessment.

Everything the students see can be used to complete their assignments. They can read books, magazines, posters. They can use computers. They can visit kiosks. They can watch movies. Content is eveywhere.

My students say they can't find content to finish an assignment.
The Teacher Guide has a Theme Grid. Most of the content related to one of the following themes is listed in the theme grid (also the themes of the assignments). Only you have access to this grid. This grid allows you to find content based on its theme, descriptive title, media type, and location.

Military History
River Formation
River Management

There are two types of navigation (getting around) in the program. You can either navigate within a location or between locations.

How do I navigate within a location?
Look at your mouse cursor. It will show up as one of the following:
move left
Click when your cursor is pointing left to turn left.

move forward
Click when your cursor is pointing forward to move forward.

move right
Click when your cursor is pointing right to move right.

take a closer look/view a detail
Click when your cursor shows up as a magnifying glass to take a closer look at an item.

How do I navigate between locations?
In the lower right corner of your screen is an icon that (usually) looks like this
This is how you pull up the Amadeus Media Composer. The Amadeus has a travel feature.

  1. Open your Amadeus by clicking on the icon, and then click on the Travel button.
  2. Highlight a location on the list.
  3. Click on that location. Travel is automatically arranged. Close your Amadeus and you will find that you have arrived at your destination.

What are the requirements for installing the program?
The technical requirements are:
· Macintosh (PowerPC, G3) running MacOS 8.5 or greater
· or Windows 95/98 (Pentium or comparable)
· Sound enabled (headphones or external speakers are recommended)
· 32 MB of RAM memory
· 8x or better CD-ROM drive
· Hard disk with at least 50 MB available for installation
· Internet connection and Web browser installed for Web access (optional)

Can I install this program on my Mac?
Yes. The same disc installs on either Macintosh or PC.

Can I install this program on my PC?
Yes. The same disc installs on either Macintosh or PC.

How do I install the program?
You have to install the program on the computer's hard drive. Put the CD-ROM in the computer. Double-click the Install-Mississippi River icon on the CD-ROM. A series of windows will come up that will guide you through the installation process.

Where do I install the program?
You can save the program anywhere on your computer that you want. The program installs on your hard drive by default.

If you have a Macintosh, the program installs in the Mississippi River folder on the hard drive.
If you have a PC, the program installs in the Mississippi River folder within the Program Files folder on the hard drive. A shortcut to the program installs on the computer's desktop.

How long does the installation take?
This depends on the speed of your computer, but usually only one to two minutes.

How do I check the student's assignments?
You have a special feature called Instructor Mode. This feature allows you complete access to student files. You can view anything the students have done, but you cannot make any changes to their files. You need two things in order to use instructor mode: (1) the location of the student's saved file (i.e., computer desktop, hard drive, disc, server), (2) a computer with the program installed.

How do I get into Instructor Mode?

  1. After you have installed the program on the computer you are using, go to the Options menu and click on SETTINGS.
  2. Select INSTRUCTOR MODE from the list. You will be asked if you want to save your sesion. Skip this step if you don't have a need to save your work.
  3. Enter the instructor mode password: MOZART.
  4. Close out of the SETTINGS options. You are now in Instructor Mode.

How do I load a student session?

  1. Get into Instructor Mode.
  2. In the Options menu, click on LOAD SESSION.
  3. A window will open. Find the location of the session you wish to load.
  4. Select the session with the student or group's name.
  5. Start the program.
  6. Repeat steps 2 - 5 to open other saved sessions.

What happens if students forget their passwords?
Use the Instructor Mode feature to look up student passwords. Open the student's files while you are in Instructor Mode and click on SHOW PASSWORD, located in the upper right corner of the screen.

How do I know which assignments my students have completed?
The Amadeus Media Composer keeps track of the assignments your students are working on. After starting in Instructor Mode and loading the student session, open the Amadeus Media Composer, the icon located in the lower right corner. Click on the Assignment button to view the list of assignments. Your students click a submit button when they are ready for you to check their assignments. In their list of assignments, the submitted assignment changes from green to red. Any assignments your students are working on will be green. Any assignments your students have completed will be red.


How do I run the program? (8)
Double-click the application icon within the Mississippi River folder on the hard drive.

Use the Start menu and select Programs/ Earth Trails / Mississippi River.

After a brief introduction, you will see the OPTIONS menu. This menu allows you to do many different tasks like: saving your session, changing the settings, printing your session information, and launching your Web browser to the student Web site, Earth Trails Productions. (link to student site)

Where do the students start? (8, 18)
After a short introduction, you will see the OPTIONS menu. Click the START button in the lower left corner. You will find yourself at the Earth Trails Production House. This is where your students (and you) will find the staff who will direct the students on their mission and tell them where to begin.

Students are strongly encouraged to view the video that shows them how to use the Amadeus Media Composer. This is the tool they will use to do all of their multimedia production. The video is located on a television in their office space (just across from Fritz's office). Have them watch the video before they do anything else.

If you have time, have your class take the Scavenger Hunt. It is on page 18 of the Producer Handbook. An answer sheet is available in the Teacher Guide on page 12. The Scavenger Hunt is a great way to learn how to get around and use the Amadeus Media Composer.

There are many words which may challenge your students' vocabularies. There is a glossary of terms at the end of the Producer Handbook that defines and illustrates these terms. Also, many of the books that students come across within the program come with their own glossaries.


If you have a question that isn't addressed, contact us, and we'll do our best to reply promptly