Mississippi River Traveling Trunk

The Mississippi River Traveling Trunk is a five-day unit focusing on Mississippi River geography, history, economics, and transportation. The musical heritage of the Mississippi River Delta is a special feature. A teacher's notebook is also included in the trunk. A materials list is given for each day.

Contents of the trunk

The first day introduces the geography of the Mississippi River. Maps are used to emphasize the significance of the river both locally and nationally. Other names and phrases associated with the river are also discussed. Students will create imaginative poems about the Mississippi River. A video gives an overall history and shows picturesque views of the river.

On the second day students will use river vocabulary and Mississippi maps in other geographical activities. Students will apply mathematics in a study of the gradual slope and flow of the river between port cities in the state. Students will use a map scale and a piece of string to find the length of the western (Mississippi River) border of Mississippi.

The third day deals specifically with music in the Mississippi Delta. Students will learn about blues songs and write one. They will also see a diddley bow and play it. A book about legendary blues musicians and singers gives an overview of their lives and works.

Contents of the trunkThe fourth day addresses transportation on the Mississippi River, both now and in the past. Riverboat travel is explored, and students examine a model of a flatboat (included). Using the units of feet and fathom with a rope depth gauge helps students improve their measurement skills. Math skills are used in an activity comparing various means of cargo transport on the river. Students learn more about travel on the river through books by Mark Twain and other literature.

When students reach the fifth day of the unit, they will use a variety of their talents to wrap up their study of the Mississippi River. Artistic and dramatic skills will be drawn upon in a language arts discussion of Mark Twain's descriptions of the river. Students will write their own mathematics word problem after reading an excerpt from Twain's Life on the Mississippi, then will illustrate the problem and solve it. Students will also create a story about the Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and give a dramatic interpretation of it. Working in cooperative groups is also an option as students create and present a travel brochure about the Great River Road (Highway 1). They will use a map and book that describes and illustrates many locations along the Mississippi River.

The Traveling Trunk Program was developed for use with fourth- through twelfth-grade classes. Trunks are available September through November and January through May. The trunks are designed to be used as a one- to two-week unit and will be shipped the week before they are to be used in the classroom to allow the teacher to become familiar with the contents. The trunks should be returned on the Monday following the completion of the teaching unit. Trunks must be shipped FedEx, USPS, or UPS and insured for $500. Teachers may choose to transport the trunks to the museum themselves. The Traveling Trunk Program was developed with funding from the Phil Hardin Foundation of Meridian. Additional funding was provided by BellSouth and BellSouth Pioneers.

For more information or to book this trunk call 601-576-6800.

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