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Monday Morning Ready06.01.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

The Judge C.R. Magney State Park on Minnesota’s north shore of Lake Superior, just a few miles south of the border with Canada, has several waterfalls. One of them has mystified geologists and hikers for decades, Caitlin Schneider reports for Mental Floss — because once the water falls, it simply disappears.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What do you think happens to the disappearing water at Devil's Kettle Falls?

Grade 5-6

People have come up with several theories and tried a lot of experiments to figure out what happens to the disappearing water at Devil's Kettle Falls. All of the theories have been disproven and none of the experiments have worked. What kind of experiment do you think might work to solve this mystery?

Grade 7-8

Do you think Devil's Kettle Falls would lose some of its appeal if the mystery of its disappearing water were ever solved? Why or why not?

Grade 9-10

Do you think geology or technology will eventually solve the mystery of Devil's Kettle Falls? How and why?

LESSON PLAN
Write a Work of Fiction

PROCESS:

  1. Inform the class that works of fiction contain different elements: characters, setting, plot, point of view and theme. Sometimes, these elements are so fantastic that readers know a story could never be true. But other times, they contain just enough facts for the story to make sense.
  2. Point out that the article they just read about Devil's Kettle Falls provides them with an excellent setting. It also introduces a mystery-what happens to the disappearing water-that could be used to develop the plot or central theme of a story. In addition, the article contains enough scientific facts to make even a work of fiction completely believable to readers.
  3. Instruct students to reread the article to collect facts about Devil's Kettle Falls. Encourage them to conduct research to learn even more about this place.
  4. Challenge students to use what they learned to write fictional stories about how and why the river disappears. Instruct students to incorporate enough scientific facts into their stories to make readers wonder if their tales could be true.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their stories with the class. Encourage classmates to point out the scientific facts. Challenge them to identify details that prove the story is a work of fiction.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Conduct research to learn more about Devil's Kettle Falls as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to develop a theory about how and why the river disappears. Challenge them to include enough scientific facts to make the plot sound true.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn more about Devil's Kettle Falls. Challenge groups to develop a theory and write a fictional story about how and why the river disappears. Challenge them to incorporate scientific facts into their plot.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners conduct research to learn more about Devil's Kettle Falls. Then instruct them to develop a theory and write a fictional story that explains how and why the river disappears. Challenge partners to include scientific facts from the article and their research to make the story as believable as possible.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners conduct research to learn more about Devil's Kettle Falls. Instruct them to develop a theory and write a fictional story that explains how and why the river disappears. Challenge students incorporate both geology and technology into their plots to make their stories as believable as possible.
VISUAL RESOURCES: NATIONAL RIVERS: HIGHLIGHTS COLLECTION
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
These Are America’s Ten Most Endangered Rivers
According to a new report, mining and flood control projects are the main threats to America’s waterways. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more.

Student Activity: Exploring Water Quality
In this activity from the Smithsonian Learning Lab, students will learn about sources of pollution in nearby streams, lakes and rivers. Then they will conduct their own test of water quality.

Inland Waterways 1820-1940
In this section of the national Museum of American History’s exhibit “On the Water: Stories from Maritime America,” students learn how the vast U.S. system of rivers and lakes has helped people settle the land and create communities.

El Rio: Do-Your-Own Exhibition
In this Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage lesson, students create a museum exhibition that addresses culture and environment in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin. The materials are adaptable to studies of other cultural-environmental relationships.

Connecting Cultures: Music of the Mekong River
This Webpage from the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage discusses the cultural importance of the Mekong River, tracing its path through China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Students can listen to selections of musical recordings, view a movie clip and study a map of the river.

To Fish Or Not To Fish?
In this Salmon River Native Film Project, presented by the National Museum of the American Indian, students of the Salmon River School District explore fishing and the impact PCBs have on the health and well-being of people in the Akwesasne community.

The Environmental Price of Dams
Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why some conservationists are demolishing dams in the name of rivers and fish.
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