Teacher Resources

Students on the bank waving at a paddleboat on a river.

Teacher Guides

Big River Journey Teacher's Guide
Download (PDF, 13.1 mb)
The Big RIver Journey Teacher's guide, which includes handouts, classroom activities, resources and logistical information presented at the teacher's workshop.

Journey to the Falls Teacher's Guide
Download (PDF, 13.1 mb)
The Journey to the Falls Teacher's guide includes handouts, classroom activities, resources and logistical information presented at the teacher's workshop.

Classroom Activities

Aluminum Boat
In the Aluminum Boat Activity, 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 (PDF)
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.

Birds, Beaks and Adaptation (PDF)
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).

Bridge Span Activity
Students will research bridge types and construction and then try their hand at designing and building a bridge.

Enviroscapes (PDF)
Student groups will conduct and evaluate results of two experiments to demonstrate (1) how water pollution happens and (2) how to prevent it.

Fort Snelling Classroom Activities
Students will read and answer questions about early Minnesota fur trade and commerce along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Two pdf versions are available, one for teachers and one for students.

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

Incredible Journey (PDF)
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).

Lessons from a Landscape (PDF)
Students will explore a local river or neighborhood to find answers to questions about the river, the landscape, and local history.

Lumber & Sawmill Activities
There are 3 activities, some with two sections, that will either prepare students for their Journey to the Falls or serve as post-trip activities. These activities focus on the historic lumber and sawmill industries of Minneapolis.

Map the Mississippi River Watershed (PDF)
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 (PDF)
Students will map the Mississippi watershed through the Twin Cities using various resources to find historical and geographic landmarks.

My Street is a River (PDF)
Students will learn about the relationships among water runoff, pollution (and its sources), and permeable and impermeable surfaces in this interesting exercise.

Online Learning: Surf the Mississippi at St. Anthony Falls (PDF)
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.

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

Questions for Introducing River Learning (PDF)
Students will explore the Mississippi River through questions about wildlife, transportation, geography, culture, and history.

River Theme Activity Ideas (PDF)
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 (PDF)
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.

Waterfall on the Move
There are three activities related to St. Anthony Falls and Mississippi River geology that will help prepare students for their Journey to the Falls experience; Mississippi River Bluff Strata, St. Anthony Falls from 1680-1876, and Map the River in the Twin Cities.

Web of Life Game (PDF)
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).

Additional Resources

Mississippi River Macroinvertebrates (Powerpoint Presentation, 4.2mb)
Learn about some of the macroinvertebrates that we see in the river.

Birding Boat Song and Lyrics
Birding Boat Brochure: 2 page (8.5x14" paper, 1.9mb PDF), 3 page (8.5x11" paper, 1.2mb PDF)
Books and Literature (PDF)
Explorers of the Mississippi (Powerpoint, 10.5mb) or (PDF, 1.13mb). Download these files to a local computer by clicking on one of these links and then on "Save."
Fort Snelling State Park (PDF)
Journey of a Waterfall (recession) (PDF)
Locking Through Interactive
Questing at Mill Ruins Park
Questing is a fun way to explore a site of interest by providing clues that reveal stories and paths to new avenues of discovery. The Mill Ruins Park River Quest tells the stories of the Mississippi River - including the St. Anthony Falls, the lock & dam, flour milling, native flora and fauna, and more. more...
River Heritage Posters
River Facts (PDF)
Songs of the Mississippi River
Vocabulary 1 (PDF)
Vocabulary 2 (PDF)

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Visitor Center, which is staffed every day except Mondays. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1-2 days.

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