ExpertIconMissRiver.bmp (67398 bytes) Be an Expert: Mississippi River

1a. Mississippi River Geography  20 Points
Trace the route of the Mississippi River using blue colored pencil.

                                           ExpertIconMississippiBasinMap.bmp (1017414 bytes)

b. Mouth of the Mississippi River
The mouth is the place where the river flows out.
The Mississippi River flows out through Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico.
The mouth of the Mississippi River is in Louisiana.


c. Arkansas River
Follow the Mississippi north from the Gulf of Mexico
Soon you come to the mouth of another river that flows into the Mississippi.
The Arkansas River is a tributary of the Mississippi River.
Tributaries contribute water to the main river.


d. Missouri River
Go back to the mouth of the Arkansas River where it joins the Mississippi.
Follow the Mississippi North until you come to the Missouri River.
St. Louis is at the mouth of of the Missouri River.
Go West and North 'up" the Missouri River.
You will pass many tributaries of the Missouri River.


e. The Ohio River

The Ohio River flows into the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois.
The Ohio River flows westward from Pennsylvania.
The Ohio River is formed by two other rivers, the Allegheny and the Monongahella.
The two rivers join at Pittsburgh to become the Ohio River.


f. The Illinois River
Just North of where the Ohio joins the Mississippi is the Illinois River.

g. The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes empty into the St. Lawrence River

h. The St Lawerence Seaway

The areas colored in blue show the watershed of the Upper Mississippi River.
The areas colored in green show the watershed of the Great Lakes area.




2. Mississippi River Vocabulary      5 Points
Define these words and terms associated with the Mississippi River

drainage basin
wing dam

3. Rivers, Creeks, and Streams    5 Points
Rivers vary in size.
Very small ones are called streams and creeks.
A creek is often just a trickle of water through a field.

4. Mississippi River Hall of Fame      10 Points
Explain how each of the following people was involved with the Mississippi River.
Include dates and locations and accomplishments.

  • Louis Jolliet
  • Jacques Marquette
  • Hernando De Soto
  • Rene Robert Cavelier
  • Zebulon Pike
  • James Buchanan Eads
  • Mark Twain
  • Abraham Lincoln

5. Native Americans     5 Points
Name the Native American tribes that have lived near the Mississippi River.


6. The "Dead Zone"     5 Points


7. Mississippi River Wildlife      10 Points
Choose one example of Mississippi River wildlife to research.
Write and illustrate a brief report about the animal.
Include its food, habitat, enemies, and so on.
Your report will go into a classbook called Mississippi River Wildlife.


8. River Poems     10 Points
Use the following poetry forms and examples to help you write your own river poems.

a. Cinquain Poetry
Line 1: Title in 2 syllabels (or words)
Line 2: Description of the title in 4 syllabels (or words)
Line 3: Description of action in 6 syllabels (or words)
Line 4: Description of feeling in 8 syllabels (or words)
Line 5: Another word for the title in 2 syllabels (or words)


water, wildlife
flowing, rippling, flooding
with grace and strebgth it rolls to the sea
life source


b. Diamonte (diamond shaped) Poetry
Line 1: Noun
Line 2: Adjective, Adjective
Line 3: Verb, Verb, Verb
Line 4: Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Line 5: Verb, Verb, Verb, Verb
Line 6: Adjective, Adjective, Adjective
Line 7: Noun


Large, complex
Producing, Consuming, Decomposing
Vegetation, Wildlife, Habitat, Niche
Competing, Preying, Interacting
Connected, Universal


c.Haiku Poetry
Line 1: 5 syllabels
Line 2: 7 sysllabels
Line 3: 5 syllabels


The snake eats the mouse
Energy, nutrient flow
Will sustain wildlife


9. Jambalaya's Restaurant
    5 Points
You are in New Orleans.  Food is an important part of the city's culture. 
You decide to stop at the Jambalaya's Restaurant for some real Cajun cooking. 
You have a budget of $20.00 for your lunch.

Jambalaya's Menu found at:


10. Mississippi Fish     5 Points
Name 5 fish you can find in the Mississippi River.

11. Mississippi Mammals
     5 Points
Name 5 mammmals that you could find in the Mississippi River ecosystem.


12. Lake Agazzi     5 Points
Research Lake Agazzi and describe how it was important to the development of the Mississippi River.


13. Mississippi River Issues      15 Points
Write a persuassive essay about an issue related to the Mississippi River.

Choose a Mississippi River related issue from the above list.
Research the topic.
What are the conflicting points of view?
What side do you agree with? Why?
Use the 5-Step Writing Process to write your essay.
Get comments from your teacher on how to improve your arguments.
Rewrite/Revise your essay.
Turn in 1st and 2nd drafts.

5-Step Writing Process
Intoductory paragraph
The first paragraph grabs the readers' attention.
It tells them why they should read on.
State your subject and why you are writing about it.
Identify why you feel qualified to take a stand on this issue.
Example: "As a birdwatcher, I understand the importance of the river to birds."

2nd Paragraph
Why should your audience agree with you?
Give two reasons that support your argument.
State your opinion in one or two sentences.

3rd Paragraph: Development
Restate your first reason to support your argument.
Go into detail and give examples that will prove to your audience they should adopt your position.

4th Paragraph: Development
Restate your second reason to support your argument.
Go into detail and give examples that will prove to your audience they should adopt your position.

Concluding Paragraph
Restate the subject of your essay.
Tell them that for reasons you have outlined, they must adopt your position.
Summarize how your reasons support your position.
Conclude with a summary of your opinion.


14. Down the Drain   10 Points
Down the Drain is found at:
How much water do you use everyday in your home?
Would you be surprised to learn that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water per day? 
In this activity you will keep track of the water you use for one week. 
You will then do the same thing for everyone else who lives in your house.
At the end of one week you will determine the average amount of water used by one person per day.
Then you will submit this information to the project web site.
Use the Personal Water Use Chart for yourself and for family members.

Personal Water Use Chart found at:


15. Mississippi River Photos      10 Points
Postcards reveal fascinating insights about people and places.
Locate some historic postcards or pictures that show the Mississippi River or a river in your area.
You can call antique dealers to see if they have historic postcards.
You can visit local historical socieities and use copies of historic photos.

16. Flood Scrapbook      10 Points
This project would be undertaken during the Spring when most floods occur.
How do people and human communities respond when flood waters rise? What are the impacts of flooding for people and for natural communities.  Keeping a scrapbook that provides a photographic and written record of flooding as it occurs is one way to explore these questions. The scrapbook could compare news and photo of an historic flood with the runoff occuring today. Look for early flood forecasts.




17. I Wonder      10 Points
Now that you are almost an expert on the Mississippi River you must have some questions.  
Brainstorm a list of 10 questions you would like answered about the Mississippi River. 
I am going to start you off with two of my own.

Use a graphic organizer to help you with this project.

Graphic Organizer found at:



Experience the Mississippi found at:

Lake Agazzi found at:

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain found at:

River Roads found at:

Rivers and Geography found at:

Rivers of the United States found at:

The Mighty Mississippi found at:

The Mighty Mississippi: Sierra Magazine found at:

Upper Mississippi River Refuge found at:

Upper Mississippi River System found at:

Water Science for School found at: