Big River Journey Teacher Resources


Big River Journey Teacher's Guide (PDF, 15mb)

Big River Art Contest classroom poster (PDF 475 KB)

Classroom Activities

Aluminum Boat


Students will learn why boats float and why, without buoyancy, river and sea transportation, exploration, and commerce on the Mississippi River would not have been possible. In this activity, students will build aluminum foil boats and evaluate their designs using pennies as cargo.

Aquatic Bugs

Students will use common household tools to discover how aquatic insects feed and what they are likely to feed on. In addition, students will be able to describe food chains.

Big River Journey Macroinvertebrates

(Powerpoint Presentation, 4.2mb)
Learn about the macroinvertebrates that we will be finding on the Big River Journey.

Birds, Beaks and Adaptation

The student will learn and describe how different kinds of bird beaks have adapted to feed on different foods within a specific habitat by using simple household tools. Also print the Teacher Adaptation (PDF).



The student will create an imitation fossil that employs at least two elements that define a fossil.

Incredible Journey

Students will describe the movement of water within the water cycle and identify the states of water as it moves through the water cycle. Also print the Teacher Adaptation (PDF).

Map the Mississippi River Watershed


Students will map the Mississippi watershed from its sources to the Gulf of Mexico to gain a better understanding of watersheds.

Map the River in the Twin Cities


Students will map the Mississippi watershed through the Twin Cities using various resources to find historical and geographic landmarks.

Online Learning


Students will explore the Internet to answer a series of questions about the history, geology, and geography of the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities and early uses of the river system.



Students will learn about and use one or more forms of poetry to express their understanding of the Mississippi River.

River Theme Activity Ideas

This document contains a list of activities from which teachers and students may choose. Activities include exploring the river through the sciences, humanities, and through service learning.

Sedimentary Layers


Students will utilize two types of sediment and water to create sedimentary layers as found in sedimentary rocks along the Mississippi River. They will learn that moving water carries and sorts sediments, changes landforms, and creates strata.

Web of Life Game

Students will learn how animals compete for resources and the impacts an exotic species can have on a natural ecosystem. Also print Teacher Adaptation (PDF).

Questions for Introducing River Learning

Students will explore the Mississippi River through questions about wildlife, transportation, geography, culture, and history.

Lessons from a Landscape

Students will explore a local river or neighborhood to find answers to questions about the river, the landscape, and local history.


Last updated: October 25, 2017

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