Missouri River Scientists Yearly Reflection

Bringing the River to You

This educational traveling trunk program provides classroom teachers, scout leaders, homeschool groups, and families with tried and true lesson plans and materials to explore the management of the endangered Pallid Sturgeon in a very real and engaging way.

2023 Reflection

Missouri River Scientists brought a place-based curriculum about the Missouri River to classrooms throughout Mid-Missouri in 2023. This year saw 388 Mid-Missouri students dig into the story of the Pallid Sturgeon.

Thank you to the schools who participated in Missouri River Scientists in 2023:

  • Battle Elementary
  • Bartley Elementary
  • David Barton Elementary
  • Douglass High School
  • Grant Elementary
  • Russell Boulevard Elementary
  • Shepard Boulevard Elementary
  • Midway Heights Elementary

"The students really enjoyed the hands on activities like building the dam and working with the muddy water. The debate/hearing on the last day was also really enjoyed by all." -Teacher at Bartley Elementary in Fulton, MO

2022 Reflection

Missouri River Scientists reached the classrooms of over 750 Mid-Missouri students in 2022. It was an incredible year of learning for young river scientists.

In 2022, trunks visited the following schools:

  • Grant Elementary
  • Two Mile Prairie Elementary
  • Columbia Academy for Learning and Enrichment
  • Russell Boulevard Elementary
  • Blue Ridge Elementary
  • Bartley Elementary
  • Douglass High School
  • New Haven Elementary
  • Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary


"I'm so glad I borrowed the trunk! It was fun for the kids and myself, everything was prepared and aligned to standards, and it exposed kids to an issue going on in their community that they had been unaware of."-Teacher at Columbia Public Schools

Interested in a Traveling Trunk?

Learn More Here
Missouri River All-stars Article Missouri River All-stars Outcomes

Check us out in the Science and Education Journal

We are so excited to share that our education programs made their first peer-reviewed journal! In 2022, our research on the “Missouri River All-Stars Program” now called “Missouri River Scientists: Traveling Trunk” was featured in the “Science and Education” Journal!

This article is called “Promoting Young Learners’ Nature of Science Views Through Place-Based Socio-Scientific Issues Instruction”. We can’t share the article directly but we did screenshot some of the abstract, and discussion. Big thank you to Mizzou: College of Education, Ben Herman, Sarah Poor, and Tanner Oertli for showing how place-based teaching about the Missouri River can leverage students’ sense of place and augment their classroom experiences in ways that help them understand the nature of science and engage local socio-scientific issues.

Creating the Pallid Sturgeon

One of the highlights of our trunks is the pallid sturgeon replicas. These pieces were created in hopes of making the issue the students are studying less abstract and more concrete. 

A special thanks go to the maker of the four pallid sturgeons, Joshua Knuth. He is a taxidermist and 3D artist who was able to create our pallid sturgeon replicas by 3D printing 13 individual pieces and hand painting them in order to get the final product. 

If you would like to see more work from Joshua, click here. 

Thank you, Melanie!

Melanie Knocke was our Missouri River Scientists: Traveling Trunk Instructor in the spring of 2022, fall of 2023, and spring of 2023. Melanie supported Columbia Public School teachers and their implementation of the travelling trunk using a gradual co-teaching model. This meant that she would go into Columbia Public Schools and assist the teacher in leading their students in exploring the management techniques for the endangered Pallid Sturgeon. 
Melanie spent 30+ years as an astronomy educator, working at planetariums and observatories around the country, including 10 years as the Director of the Columbia Public Schools Planetarium. She has written five books on astronomy and space exploration and was selected to participate in NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador program. Her love of water is equal to her love of the night sky. Born and raised at Lake Lotawana, MO, she is an avid swimmer and water skier. She is also an MR340 finisher and has participated in MRR clean-ups since Hartsburg in 2008. 

A Big Muddy Thank You to Our Sponsors

Thanks to our generous sponsors for supporting the Missouri River Scientists traveling trunk program and the creation of place-based education resources for our community. Also, thank you to Sam Stukel and US Geological Survey - CERC for allowing us the use of their photos. 

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
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