Last week, Missouri River Relief (MRR) was in Kansas City for a two-day educator workshop. Three teachers from the Kansas City area gathered with us to learn more about the Missouri River and how they can integrate the river into their classrooms. The teachers’ students ranged from elementary, to middle school, to high school. Regardless of the different ages of their students, all the teachers were eager to learn and bring exciting new content to their classrooms.
|Ready for a day on the river!|
Where is the best place to start a Missouri River educator workshop? On the river! We did just that. Our group met by the boat ramp of Kansas City Riverfront Park. After all the teachers arrived we introduced them to our crew: Kristen Schulte (MRR education director), Jeff “Boot” Barrow (MRR executive director), and myself, Claire (MRR education assistant intern). The teachers also went around the circle to talk about their goals for the workshop and their history
with the Missouri River. One of the teachers and I had never been on the river before, so all of us were excited to get out on the boat.
After a safety talk and life jacket fitting, we were off! While Jeff motored us downstream, everyone got acquainted with the river. We shared observations that started with “I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of…” At one point we noticed a memorial site for a fisherman, which included a giant bobber and some flowers. We wondered if that was his favorite spot on the river and how often he went there to fish.
|We enjoyed incredible views of the Kansas City skyline from our boat. It was the perfect mixture of city and nature.|
|Kristen shows the teachers the rock ledge that helped found Kansas City.|
|The group pulled over on a shady bank to learn more about ecology of the Missouri River.|
|One of our teachers poses by a statue of Lewis and Clark during our lunch break at Kaw Point.|
|Kristen shows the group a map of varying depths of the Missouri River during a “walk and talk.”|
|Teachers examine different kinds of sturgeon, held up in jars by Kristen.|
On Friday morning Kristen and I met the teachers at the MU Extension Office in the River Market District of Kansas City. We would spend the day in the classroom learning how to apply the knowledge from the day before.
To start off, Kristen shared a structured outline of a Missouri River lesson plan with the teachers to help guide them with their own lesson planning. We also went over how people learn and modeled that with an activity and lesson about food webs in the Missouri River.
|Teachers listen and take notes as Kristen presents the Missouri River lesson plan.|
|An enthusiastic tour guide introduces us to the Arabia Steamboat Museum and all the unburied treasures inside it.|
|We all gasp about the size of our pizzas and wonder how we’ll ever finish them all.|
We ended the workshop with a group reflection. Each teacher had come with different experience and prior knowledge of the river, so each got something different out of the last two days.
River and eager to bring it into the classroom to inspire their students too. The teachers said their experience was enriching and they felt more comfortable and capable teaching about the Missouri River in their classrooms.
If you would like to learn more about MRR educator workshops, please contact Education Director Kristen Schulte at firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out our education program page for registration information, financial aid opportunities, and upcoming events. See you on the river!