Fourth graders get up-close experience with Missouri River
COLUMBIA- Slimy fish, boat rides, hiking and tasty leaves are a few things some 4th grade students experienced on Friday.
The Missouri River Relief teamed up with Columbia Public Schools for "Missouri River Days." Missouri River Relief is a non-profit organization that puts on Missouri River Days for three days in the fall and spring to give students hands-on experience in the environment.
Kirsten Schulte, Missouri River Relief education director, says what students learn in the Missouri River Days program connects to students school science curriculum.
"They're learning about erosion and that's something that happens here on the river. They're also learning about life cycles and habitats and adaptations and there's nothing better than taking things that happen in your own backyard and bringing them into the classroom," she said.
Students went through four interactive stations. At Station 1, students learned about and got to touch fish that are native to the Missouri River. At Station 2, students followed a trail in the woods, made observations to spot the Missouri River tree and picked and tasted an edible green plant called garlic mustard.
Station 3 had students learning about the adventures of Lewis and Clarke and creating watercolor drawings. At station 4, students went on a boat ride and learned about the flow of the Missouri River.
Eli Novak, a fourth grader at Rock Bridge Elementary, said he enjoyed the field trip to the river and shared his favorite parts of the day.
"I liked going on the boat, that was really cool because it was so quiet and you felt like you could just fall asleep. I really liked observing the landscape and painting a picture of it. That was really cool to see how beautiful this landscape is right next to the river," Eli said.
Eli's teacher, Jamie Blackburn, is happy students are able to get this type of learning experience.
"They're all about learning new things this age. Anytime we can come out and get some hands-on experience it gets them even more excited. And then the questions start and they're wanting to research on their own and learn more about Missouri and about science," said Blackburn.
Schulte said over 250 students participated in Missouri River Days throughout the week.