My River Unit

Lessons on the River

1. Chicago River Science Lessons

2. Chicago River History Lessons

3. Michigan Avenue Bridge Lessons

4. Ecology & Geography Lessons

5. Lessons in Taking Action

6. View our existing K-12 Curricula

Friends has many lesson plans to teach about the river, most developed in partnership with teachers. Integrate these lessons into your curriculum to contextualize and focus your students’ learning on a local natural resource. If you are a new teacher, Friends can assist you with an in-class presentation. You can even create your own river unit with these lessons by teaching them before and after a field trip. Find a lesson that fits your needs here.

Lessons are organized by subject and then by grade. If you don't see what you are looking for here, we might have something similar or we could work with you to create it. Contact our education staff for more information.

Chicago River Science Lessons

What is a River? (K-2)
Erosion: Natural or Unnatural? (5-8)
What is a Watershed? (6-12)
Water Quality Tests Explained (7-12)
What Does Stream Flow Tell Us? (9-12)

Chicago River History Lessons

Times Have Changed (K-2)
I've Felt the Same Way (K-4)
The Chicago River's Journey Through Time (K-2)
Rivers through Time (3-4)
The History of Your Chicago River (3-8)
Backward Goes It Does (5-8)
Backward Goes It Does (9-12)
Getting a Sense of Time (7-8)
CSO, Oh NO! (4-12)

Michigan Avenue Bridge Lessons

A Bridge Going Up and Down (K-3)
A Bridge in Balance (3-5)
The Mag Mile and Torque (9-12)

Ecology & Geography Lessons

What are Maps for? (5-6)
More with Chicago River Maps (5-6)
Building an Ecosystem (6-12)
?Biodiversity: Who Cares? (6-12)
Who Lives in the River? (7-12)

Lessons in Taking Action

Connecting Land and Water (3-4)
Choices Make a Difference (5-6)
Think! Beyond the Banks (5-12)
This lesson includes resources that you will need to download separately:

To receive a FREE teacher resource kit that includes sample recipes, bookmarks, stickers, and a flash drive with the Think! PowerPoint and Think! videos, please contact Mark Hauser.

Background Information

These handouts provide additional information for you and your students.

What Makes a River Healthy?
A Brief History of the Chicago River
Chicago River Web Resources
What are the eight biggest problems facing the Chicago River today?

Checking to see what's in the net - maybe a dobsonfly? A student from Drummond Elementary School samples water quality

“Being a part of the Chicago River Schools Network has given me a fun, interactive way to teach students about their natural surroundings and to create projects that combine the arts and sciences.”

Amy Andrews, Mozart School