Objective: Students will become familiar with names and stories of rivers in South
Materials: 23 River Jugglers River Story Cards (1 per student), State of South Dakota
1:500,000 scale map, small ball such as tennis or ping pong balls (suggestion is to wad
up a piece of paper to use as a ball)
Background: South Dakota has a total of 10,298 miles of rivers and major streams.
Many of these waterbodies were named by the Native American population that
inhabited the state. Some were named by Canadian hunters and trappers. Some were
named and then renamed by the residents who lived around them.
Give each student a River Jugglers River Story Card. Note: if your class has more than
23 students, form several small groups of "twins" or "triplets" and give each group one
River Jugglers River Story Card.
Laminate the State of South Dakota 1:500,000 scale map.
Give each student an opportunity to find his/her river on the map.
Next, have students read over their story card. Have them find or make some type of
identifier that they can use when playing the game. For example, the student with "White
River" may want to make a white circle and place it on his/her shirt. The only stipulation
to creating/displaying "props" is that the name of the waterbody cannot be written on the
After students have made their "props", have them sit in a circle on the floor. Students
then introduce themselves as "Mike White River", "Katie Big Sioux River", etc.
depending on the name of their story card river. With twins and triplets, they can
introduce themselves as "Mike and Katie - we're the Elm River twins" or "Sam, Don and
Bill Redwater River - we're triplet's". Make sure that twins and triplets use the same
props to identify themselves.
Begin the game by saying the person's name and waterbody as you toss him/her the
ball. That player tosses the ball to another player, calling out his/her name and
Continue until everyone has had the ball at least once.
Now speed up. When this gets easy, add one or two more balls.
Have students carefully examine the map. Assign each student a county and have them
make a list of all the waterbodies in their county. Next have each student write and
illustrate a historical story about one of the waterbodies in their county. Encourage them
to be very creative. Share all the stories with the class and then with their parents at a
Reading, Social Studies
SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.R.1.1; 4.R.1.2; 4.R.2.1
Observing, Memorizing, Applying,
Prior Preparation: Read to the class
"A River Ran Wild" by Lynne Cherry or
"The River" by David Bellamy or
another book about rivers and their
historical significance. Explain to the
students that all rivers have a history
and they will be learning about the
rivers in South Dakota and their