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MSR trunk contents imageThe Mississippi River Traveling Trunk focuses on Mississippi River geography, history, economics, and transportation, with the musical heritage of the Mississippi River Delta as an extra special feature.

With this trunk students will have an opportunity to

  • Measure the length of the Mississippi River between ports and calculate its elevation and depth
  • Use maps to plan and advertise a trip through Mississippi
  • Listen to authentic Mississippi River Blues music, compose their own Blues song, and learn to play Blues instruments
  • Write a story about the Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and then dramatize it

A teacher’s notebook and material list is included in the trunk. This trunk is organized as a five-day unit but teachers are encouraged to organize, revise, and adapt its contents to best fit the needs of their students.

Day One

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 film, Mississippi Roads – Mississippi River, provides an overall history of the river and shows a selection of its picturesque views.

Day Two

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.

Day Three

msr trunk flatboatThe 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. A CD of Blues music is included in the trunk.

Day Four

The 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. 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.

Day Five

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.

Trunk Competencies Chart

Contents of Trunk

Trunk Weight and Dimensions

  • Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 9” (h) x 23” (w) x 30” (l)

To learn more about the Traveling Trunk Lending Policies and Procedures, the content of specific trunks, or to book a trunk, please contact:

Outreach Programs Coordinator
Programs and Communication, MDAH
P.O. Box 571
Jackson, MS 39205-0571
Phone: 601-576-6997