Teacher Resources


Mississippi Videos

Project Overview


Lesson Plans

They have been student tested, teacher-tested, evaluated by the experts, put through the wringer, and now classroom activities are ready to be downloaded by YOU.

You can download over 30 assignments for your middle school classroom. These activities
are in accordance with McRelL Standards and Benchmarks and NCTM standards. Many of
the math, science, language arts, and social studies activities can be used in multidisciplinary units.

All of these activities support higher-order thinking skills, cooperative learning, cross-curricular studies, and student-centered learning.

Take time to go through the activities before using them in class. Some activities require
more teacher preparation and class time. Others require class field trips. Some activities will
naturally work better as a culmination project. Each activity includes Instructor Notes, Students Activity, and Assessment. Use all of them or some of them -- they are versatile, easy to use, and a lot of fun. You are encouraged to change them for your particular needs.

Commercial use of our products is prohibited. Documents and images can be reproduced for educational use with credit to © 2000 Iowa Public Television.

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Introduction to the Activities Documents (PDF, 48kb)

Creeping Sheets of Ice Students pose their own theories about how river channels are created by recreating glacial activity using blocks of ice and gravel. (PDF, 103kb)
Draining the Land Students identify the different parts of a river. Then students use a topographic map to determine gradient and predict new channel formation. (PDF, 170kb)
Fish Haunts Students study fish found in both river and lake environments and learn how they differ from one another. Students make and play a fishing game to discuss fish habitats. (PDF, 165kb)
Flyways Students observe animal migration patterns. (PDF, 105kb)
From Lazy River to Deep Water Students calculate volume and create a model lock study how it works. (PDF, 147kb)
Hide and Seek Through a field trip to a local river and some background in food webs, students collect, study, categorize macro-invertebrates, and then link their specimens to the rest of the animal kingdom. (PDF, 119kb)
Knock on Wood Students learn about coniferous and deciduous trees that grow throughout the Mississippi River valley. Students explore their own area and create a representative tree field guide. (PDF, 186kb)
Water Power Students create a turbine and experiment with water current. (PDF, 195kb)

Social Studies
Bon Voyage Brochure Students will research recreation on the Mississippi River and create a professional-looking travel brochure that highlights their attraction. (PDF, 98kb)
Cause and Effect Students learn about a historical event through studying its causes and effects. After researching the subject, writing a couple of paragraphs, and creating a T-chart, students report their findings to the class. (PDF, 132kb)
History Talks Students research a historical figure and event related in some way to the Mississippi River. Then, in a talk show format, they present their character in a short speech followed up by questions from the "audience." (PDF, 99kb)
OSAE Can You See Students use OSAE (observe, speculate, analyze, and, evaluate) to learn and draw conclusions about Mississippi River locations. (PDF, 94kb)
Special Report: Flood of the Great River Students organize their own media broadcast centered around an actual flood and act as reporters reporting the breaking news from a variety of angles. (PDF, 98kb)
Stamp It Students combine the written and visual arts to create a commemorative stamp collection centered upon a Mississippi River theme. (PDF, 96kb)
Trading Information students gather information about a state along the Mississippi River. Then using the five themes of geography, create a jumbo trading card with a picture representation on one side, and information on the other side. (PDF, 97kb)
Which Way is North Students explore the workings and the practical uses of a compass. Using some of the basic skills of orienteering, including bearing, direction, and pacing, students create and participate in a scavenger hunt. (PDF, 151kb)

Language Arts
Front Page News Students write earthquake articles typical of those that might appear on the front page of a newspaper. (PDF, 158kb)
Hot Topics of the Mississippi Students identify a Mississippi River issue and write a well-developed critical essay. (PDF, 103kb)
Indian Story Bag Students write a story, gather objects to use as visual aids, and tell their story to the class. (PDF, 100kb)
River Reading Circle Students participate in a reading circle as a means of studying river-related poetry. (PDF, 128kb)
A Wanderer's Point of View Students use point of view in a Mississippi River story. (PDF, 99kb)
What's Your Ambition? Students read an excerpt from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain and, using six traits of writing, compose an essay on a personal life ambition. (PDF, 134kb)

Animal Tracks Students will find the area of different animal tracks found along the Mississippi River. (PDF, 320kb)
Batter Up Students use a variety of strategies to figure out the cost of baseball tickets. (PDF, 126kb)
Chart Your Course Students use real world scenarios to chart and explain time and distance. (PDF, 94kb)
Dredging the Mississippi Students will calculate the appropriate channel depth for barges to safely navigate the upper Mississippi River. (PDF, 89kb)
Family Vacation Students use math to plan a trip by houseboat down the Mississippi River. (PDF, 120kb)
Handshakin' students are given a scenario in which they must figure out how many times everyone shakes everyone else's hands (PDF, 87kb)
How Low Can You Go? Students will use elevation and mileage data to graph elevation and figure out pitch, grade, and slope. (PDF, 143kb)
Jambalaya's Restaurant Students will use a menu and recipes to work on adding, subtracting, and percentages. (PDF, 114kb)
Mapping River Stats. Using river statistics, students will answer questions and create appropriate charts. (PDF, 125kb)
Scattered About Students analyze and explain the correlation in different scatter plots. (PDF, 129kb)
Water Locked Students will use volume formulas to calculate the amount of water in a lock. (PDF, 98kb)