Great Sites for Teaching About... The Mississippi and Other Great Rivers
Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Internet educator Walter McKenzie selected the ten sites listed here, which are among the best on the Web for teaching about the Mississippi and other great rivers.
- The Mississippi: River of Song
On this PBS site, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, visitors click along a map of the Mississippi River to learn about the rich musical heritage that evolved there. Students can immerse themselves in the tradition of legends such as Levon Helm and the contemporary music of Soul Asylum. The site includes biographies, discographies, and audio and video clips to bring the culture alive for students. Although the teacher's guide was developed primarily to accompany the TV series, the extension activities remain viable lessons teachers can adapt for use in the classroom.
- Mark Twain at Large
This exhibit from the library at the University of California at Berkeley showcases the travel of this noted chronicler of the Mississippi River, both on the river itself and around the world. It displays Twain's wit and humor in an entertaining style that secondary students studying the culture of the Mississippi River will appreciate.
- Mississippi River Field Trip
This virtual field trip documents the travels of students who witnessed the 1993 flooding of the Mississippi River in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. The site includes facts on the flooding, interviews, and original thumbnail pictures that load quickly and can be enlarged. The site is as much a study of the natural disaster as it is of the river itself.
- In Focus: Floods
This PBS site covers all aspects of river flooding in an informative, engaging way. Topics covered include the science of floods, flood fighters, pet rescues, and accounts of flood survivors. RealAudio clips provide narrative descriptions of flooding from news outlets and literature. With excellent links to the sites of such high-quality TV programs as NOVA and Newton's Apple, In Focus is an excellent site designed just for students.
- Huckleberry Finn
The classic tale of life on the Mississippi 150 years ago is available with full text and several series of illustrations from a variety of editions. Early reviews of the book help students understand the impact of the story in its time, and the samples of advertisements and prospectuses help foster an appreciation for the media event that the novel was from its first printings. This is a great site to supplement in-class study of this American classic.
- World Rivers Project
Students at Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati researched the major rivers of the world and reported on them here. Information on geographic location, ecology, history, politics, land use, and culture is included for each river covered. Lots of digital images make each presentation exemplary in both content and as a model for students wishing to create Web pages to share their research. Rivers covered include the Nile, Ganges, Rhine, Mississippi, Hudson, Niger, Congo, and Thames.
- Rivers Seen from Space
NASA provides this collection of satellite images of major rivers of the world. Rivers included are the Nile, Mississippi, and Amazon. The pictures are accompanied by facts and historical references. The link to a major index of images offers information about more landforms and bodies of water for classroom use.
- Great Globe Gallery
This exhaustive site covers aerial photography of all aspects of Earth and outer space, including a section on world rivers. Although the initial world map of rivers seems rather overwhelming in scope, it offers viewers an appreciation of the vastness of these intricate, interconnected waterways. Visitors can click on the map, and the Map Maker feature allows them to customize maps, zooming in on rivers by clicking for magnification or entering latitude and longitude.
- River of Venom
Originally designed as an online contest, this simulation serves as a great activity for students as they navigate the Amazon River, trying to fend off danger in the rain forest. Access Excellence sponsors this problem-solving activity based on one of the world's great rivers. At the end of each section, users e-mail their input and receive additional clues to help solve the mystery. This simulation promotes reading and math skills in high-interest contexts that engage children.
- Nile Adventure
Tour Egypt offers this virtual tour down the world's longest river, with lots of images and interesting to facts to keep kids interested. The emphasis is on wildlife along the river, especially crocodiles, birds, and fish, but users can also explore the ancient city of Aswan through a local link. Other tours on this site include the Red Sea and an overland safari. Teachers whose students are studying Egypt can adapt this site for kids of any age!
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