Virtual Missouri River Days Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Virtual Missouri River Days Has Wrapped!

During the Spring semester of 2021, we partnered with Columbia Public Schools (CPS) to bring two guest presentations to sixty registered fourth and fifth grade classes. We were able to successfully take on this challenge with the help of guest presenters Kory Kaufman, Melanie Knocke, and Anna Miller who graciously offered their time and teaching expertise to about half of these registered classes.


What Did the Students Learn?

While we were unable to physically bring students to the Missouri River this year, we did our best to take the excitement and mystery of its muddy waters to their classrooms. For Lesson One, students investigated whether or not there are sharks in the Missouri River and learned about fish adaptations. This question is one that frequently is asked by elementary school students, so we decided to hook them by discussing fake river shark stories and the value of reliable sources. During Lesson Two the following week, students moved onto a different type of fish. They explored invasive species in the form of Silver Carp and designed inventions to help stop their spread by exploiting the Silver Carp’s jumping response to sounds. Many of the students came up with inventions that are nearly identical to those being tested by scientists today. After the presentations, students were free to ask questions about the lessons or the Missouri River.


"Ocean sharks can't live in the river, but could a fish from the Missouri River survive in the ocean?"


Lesson One: Are There Sharks in the Missouri River?

Theme: Adaptations Help Fish Survive in the Missouri River

Topic: Claim, Evidence, Reasoning, and Structural Adaptations

Student Outcomes:

  • Understand that adaptations are structures that help fish survive in the Missouri River.  
  • Know whether evidence is relevant and sufficient to support a claim about the primary function of certain structures that help fish to survive in the Missouri River.
  • Be able to make a claim that is supported by evidence and reasoning on how structures help fish survive in the Missouri River.

Next Generation Science Standard: 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Lesson Two: Can Some Fish in the Missouri River Really Fly?

Theme: Invasive Species Damage the Balance of the Missouri River Ecosystem

Topic: Models, Sense Receptors and Asian Carp

Student Outcomes:

  • Understand that species have different sense receptors that processes and relays information to the brain and are used to guide their survival in the Missouri River.
  • Know species' different types of sense receptors detect specific types of information in the Missouri River.
  • Be able to use a model to describe a species sense receptor that processes information to the brain and is used to guide their survival in the Missouri River.

Next Generation Science Standard: 4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. 


"The virtual presentations went so well! My students were fascinated! Thank you for doing this program."


In Conclusion

We are providing teachers of these classes access to two more pre-recorded lessons, which will be available soon along with recorded versions of Lesson One and Lesson Two on the Missouri River Relief website under curriculum.

Virtual Missouri River Days was a blast, but nothing can replace the hands-on experience of throwing on a lifejacket and helping students aboard a boat. We hope that we will be able to once again provide that experience to CPS elementary students. In the meantime, we are excited to continue adapting and creating new lessons and programs to keep their interests piqued.

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