The bridge over the Red River in downtown Grand Forks/East Grand Forks is a great place to teach and an even better place to learn. A group of 42 college students from UND’s Education Department has had the opportunity to do both.
To begin their journey, UND students took part in the River of Dreams program, similar to any other class participating in our program. UND students were taught the basics about how watersheds function and were taken on a virtual tour of their watershed from Grand Forks to Lake Winnipeg and ultimately to Hudson Bay. Next students decorated their canoe and wrote a dream for the journey downstream. Then, just as our 4th-6th grade students do, our future teachers brought their canoes to the shores of their local river to send them on their way, launching from the downtown bridge into the Red River. As always, the canoe launch brought smiling faces and a curiosity about what the journey for their canoe will look like.
At this point, the UND students’ journey began to vary from the path our average River of Dreams students take. Following the launch, UND students partnered with classmates and developed unit plans that target a specific grade level and subject matter but still relate back to watersheds and the River of Dreams program. As each student presented their lesson plans in subjects ranging from science to math to art, it was easy to be impressed!
Many students brought their understanding of rivers and watersheds, which had been newly gained from River of Dreams, into their lesson plans. It’s great to know that the story of working with these 42 students is not over. As these students lead their classrooms in the years to come, they not only have the background knowledge of watersheds but also have the ability to design meaningful units from multiple subject areas.
To check out the dreams and designs these dreamers had, head to their page on riverofdreams.org
A special thanks to Josh Hunter, Julie Robinson, Sonja Brandt, Bonni Gourneau and Yujin Lee for helping to make this dream come true!