Lesson 6: A River Ran Wild

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • What changes do humans cause in the environment? What changes are natural?
  • How do changes in the environment affect people?
  • How can changes be positive? How can they be negative?

Facts and Definitions

  • Factories can pollute rivers.
  • Native Americans (Indians) lived in North America before settlers came.


  • Analyze the effects of change in communities and predict future changes. (SS)
  • Analyze environmental issues, past and present, and determine their impact on different cultures. (SS)
  • Describe human movement in the settlement patterns of rural, urban, and suburban areas. (SS)
  • Identify and describe the people, vegetation, and animal life specific to certain regions and describe their interdependence. (SS)
  • Observe and record changes. (S)
  • Observe and describe properties of rocks, soil, and water. (S)


  • A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry
  • 3 small identical plants
  • 3 water bottles
  • clay
  • colored pencils or markers
  • construction paper
  • dried cranberries
  • glue or tape
  • laundry detergent
  • long stick
  • map of Massachusetts
  • nuts
  • pencil
  • permanent marker
  • plastic sandwich bags
  • rubbing alcohol
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • string or yarn


Materials: construction paper, dried cranberries, map of Massachusetts, nuts, plastic sandwich bags
Before beginning this lesson, hide some small plastic sandwich bags filled with nuts and small berries around the back yard or, if the weather prevents going outside, around the house. Cut some fish out of construction paper and set them in a section of the yard or on a blanket in the home — this area will be designated as the river.

Locate the Nashua River on a map of the state of Massachusetts. Ask your child to describe a woodland river habitat. Ask her what the land would look like and what types of animals might be found there.