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Education Resources

Missouri River Information Packets 

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The Missouri River is home to fascinating creatures, as well as many issues. That is why we felt it was necessary to develop information packets. In these packets, a broad range of information is introduced and discussed; from the giants who dwell in the depths, to the consequences of the interaction between cities and the Missouri River.  Each topic is accompanied by a summary description of what it is, why it is, and why it is important to the Missouri River. Listed below are the topics and links to each information packet separated into three main categories:

Invasive/Non-Native Species on the Missouri River 

Endangered Species on the Missouri River 

Human-Related Issues on the Missouri River 

To download all of the information packets directly visit: MOSpace Institutional Repository. 

Big thank you to writers and designers of the information packets! This includes Josh Palmer, Student – University of Missouri; Leif Nordstrom, Student – University of Missouri; Claire Hassler, Student – University of Missouri; and Felicity Dykas, Head of Digital Service Department- the University of Missouri who made this vision a resource for the classroom.

We also could not have done it without the help from our numerous agency partners, these packets include expertise from Aaron DeLonay, Duane Chapman, Barry Poulton, Matt Strukhoff, Susannah Erwin, Carrie Elliott, and Rob Jacobson at the U.S. Geological Survey and Darby Niswonger, Chris Newbold, Bob Rives at the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

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We have teamed up with Show-Me Stormwater to create an adventure challenge just for you and your family! Designed for kids in 2-5th grade (but fun for all ages), the goal of the hunt is to connect you to your local watershed, have fun in a creek, learn about food webs and how animals are dependent on healthy creeks, and last but not least find ways to help make your creek a better habitat for all animals!

Common Trees of the Missouri River Bottom: A Guide for Students 

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This guide was created by Missouri River Relief and was designed to be used by elementary and high school students. The goal of this guide is to provide an engaging, hands-on experience for students beginning to learn about Missouri River floodplain trees. It is not designed as a foolproof taxonomic tree ID guide.

To download directly visit: MOSpace Institutional Repository. 

While the trees included in this guide can be found in many Missouri River floodplain forests, the list is not exhaustive for all locations. Many Missouri River floodplain trees can be very tall with leaves out of reach; as such, we formatted this guide to focus on bark providing the most direct identifier for the student. Tree bark is at student level! Because many guides focus on leaves and stems to identify trees, we understand that this is a unique approach to learning tree species. 

Big thank you to Kevin Tosie, Student – University of Missouri, Columbia; Leif Nordstrom, Student – University of Missouri, Columbia; and Ann Koenig, Urban Forester – Missouri Department of Conservation; and Felicity Dykas, Head of Digital Service Department- the University of Missouri who made this guide possible. 

 Missouri River Curriculum

Coming in the School Year of 2019-2020!

Looking for resources for teaching about the Missouri River, examples of river action projects, or ways to take learning outside? You’ve come to the right place. You're just a little early. 

In the fall of 2018, Missouri River Relief will launch a Missouri River Curriculum consisting of 4 lesson plans for elementary students and educators that incorporate’s the ecology, history, and stewardship of the Missouri River. 

Sneak Peek

  • Piloted and Evaluated by Real Teachers
  • Simple and Easy to Obtain Materials
  • Aligned to Next Generation Science Standards 

The new curriculum seeks to build elementary students knowledge and understanding of the Missouri River through hands-on experiences that will deepen their connection and sense of responsibility to its stewardship. 

Big thank you to Darcy Higgins, instructor of the Missouri River All-Stars After School Program who is co-developing and piloting these lesson plans in partnership with Missouri River Relief. 

Missouri River STEM Challenges 

Coming in the School Year of 2019-2020!

Ever wonder what STEM challenges to serve up to your students next? In the fall of 2019, Missouri River Relief will launch 3 clever, unique and simple STEM challenge lesson plans for elementary students and teachers that incorporate the Missouri River. 

What does STEM mean? 

STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.

What is a STEM Challenge? 

STEM challenges are a learning tool that can connect real-world problems to what students are learning in the classroom. They provide the opportunity for students to “think like an engineer” where they have to think deeply about a project, use critical thinking and use context from across many subject areas. A great STEM challenge will incorporate the following: 

  • Focus on real-world issues and problems.
  • Guided by the engineering design process.
  • Immerse students in hands-on inquiry and open-ended exploration. 
  • Involved students in productive teamwork. 
  • Apply rigorous math and science content the students are learning.
  • Allow for multiple right answers and reframe failure as a necessary part of learning.

Why do STEM Challenges matter to you? 

STEM Challenges are a means for preparing future generations to: 

  • To think deeply
  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to address real-world problems

Only 16% of high school students are prepared for STEM undergraduate study, by incorporating STEM Challenges we can:

  • Spark students interest in STEM careers 
  • Meet the U.S Department of Education federal, 5-year Strategic Plan for STEM Education 
  • Improve STEM instruction in preschool thru 12th 
  • Increase and sustain public and youth engagement with STEM
  • Improve STEM experience for undergraduate students. 

What are the implications for teaching and learning? 

For Students:

  • Improvement in learning and thinking.
  • Ability to make connections between concepts and representations.
  • New knowledge is built on existing knowledge.

For Teachers:

  • Development of teaching style for knowledge that can be constructed and revised.4
  • Merging of ideas from teachers of different subject areas.

Big thank you to Morgan Staudinger at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who is developing these lesson plans in partnership with Missouri River Relief. 

If you are interested in piloting a STEM challenge and offering feedback, please e-mail the education coordinator, Kristen Schulte at 


Gerlach, J. National Science Teachers Association - NSTA. "Books & Resources." NSTA News. N.p., 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Wang, Hui-Hui; Moore, Tamara J.; Roehrig, Gillian H.; and Park, Mi Sun (2011) "STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions and Practice," Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER): Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 2. h p:// 1288284314636 

Executive Office of the President of The United States. Committee on STEM Education National Science and Technology Council. Federal Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education 5-Year Strategic Plan. May 2013. Washington D.C. 20502. 

National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 2014. STEM Integration in K-12 Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18612.

Wang, Hui-Hui; Moore, Tamara J.; Roehrig, Gillian H.; and Park, Mi Sun (2011) "STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions and Practice," Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER): Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 2. h p:// 1288284314636 is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
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