Online Classes

Nine live online classes were presented from Monday, September 28th through Thursday, October 1st. They were recorded and are now available to view whenever it is convenient on the Metro Area Children’s Water Festival YouTube channel. This page describes each online class, provides information on the presenter(s), and includes a direct link to the recording of the class (click on the link that says “Watch it here!” beneath the class you would like to watch). All live online classes were professionally closed-captioned. Click here to go back to the main 2020 virtual water festival page.

Recorded live online classes included on this page:

Down the dirty drain

Why don’t our streets become rivers when it rains? Learn where stormwater goes and what it might carry with it if we are not careful.

Presenter: Kate Clayton, Youth Coordinator; Friends of the Mississippi River

Watch it here! (Length: 1:01:17)

Water connects everyone and everything on Earth

Join this virtual classroom for an introduction to learn what is a watershed, what is in stormwater and where it goes. See a runoff demonstration using the Enviroscape followed by Q&A Jeopardy style game where students learn how water connects everything. You’ll get to see how your everyday actions at home, work or school can protect or harm water quality.

Presenters: Lindsay Schwantes, Community Outreach Coordinator; Capitol Region Watershed District and Tim Olson, PE, Water Resources Engineer; Bolton & Menk, Inc

Watch it here! (Length: 53:25)

Journey through a watershed from forest to faucet

A group of students finds out where the water in the water fountain at school starts out – a small stream in the forest. This Fresh Water Live production features a USDA Forest Service employee, Amchat, and his friend, Della, exploring watersheds all over the country from New York to Virginia and Colorado. Along the way, we learn about what role forests play in producing clean water and what we can do to keep our water clean. The accompanying teacher/student activities feature a root/water absorption experiment, measuring the tree spread, and calculating how much bare soil is outside the school that may be a source of soil erosion and a potential water pollution problem.

Click here for the teacher/student activities.

Presenter: Teri Heyer, Urban Connections; USDA Forest Service

Watch it here! (Length: 57:55)

What fish is that?

Students will learn about fish identification and gain the skill needed to use a dichotomous key to lead them to the common name of the fish. Print and distribute the key to students prior to watching the live webinar.


Presenter: Mario Travaline; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Watch it here! (Length: 1:00:05)

What lives here and why? Using biological monitoring to find problems in a watershed.

Finding and tallying what lives in a stream is called biological monitoring. Biological monitoring is like being a detective. If the living things don’t match what we’d expect to find in a stream, river or lake there could be a problem. It’s a clue that we need to collect more data and information to determine where pollution is coming from and what to do about it.

Before our live class, watch a 3-minute video that shows biologists doing this work – collecting insects from streams in Minnesota. After the video, investigate two streams using the Investigating Two Streams activity sheet, just like these biologists would do at their job. Answer the writing prompts about what you notice, wonder and think. Allow at least 20 minutes to complete these activities before joining the virtual classroom.

We’ll see you in the virtual classroom to talk about your results!

Presenters: Brooke Asleson, Chloride Coordinator and Britt Gangeness, Outreach and Education; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Watch it here! (Length: 41:51)

Who polluted?

Students will use a model to represent a local water body – lake, river or stream, and participate in an interactive story dramatizing how a water body becomes polluted. This graphic example demonstrates how we are all part of the pollution problem, and that we all must be part of the solution. Students will discuss how we can conserve water and other resources and how each of us can reduce pollution, trash, and waste.

Presenters: Meagan Keefe and Kellie Strinz, Naturalists/Outdoor Education Specialists; Dakota County Parks

Watch it here! (Length: 41:20)

Mosquito mania

Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce and with thousands of lakes, swamps, ponds, and other wetlands, Minnesota provides plenty of habitat. In this presentation from the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District, learn about the mosquito life cycle, how to control them, and the role they play in the environment.

Presenter: Alex Carlson, Public Affairs Coordinator; Metropolitan Mosquito Control District

Watch it here! (Length: 36:57)

Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall

Which is stronger, rocks or water? Which has the power to build cities? Ranger Abby will help you decide which element influenced the location of our two Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, as she tells the story of a massive waterfall on the Mississippi River that has disappeared!

If you’d like to do some geology activities with your students before or after the live session with the ranger, or if you’re looking for some great virtual science activities to go through with your class, the National Park Service and the Hamline Center for Global Environmental Education have created a collection of modules called Big River Journey Online just for you! Teachers can lead students through a virtual field trip on the Missississpi River one station at a time, including the Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall! Teachers also have the opportunity to request a virtual class visit from a ranger and can choose from a variety of topics relating to the science and history of the Mississippi River’s National Park. 

To check out the virtual field trip, go to Big River Journey Online then click on the barge with your station of choice and see where your adventure will take you! (To solve the Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall, click the “Disappearing Waterfall” barge and watch the three short videos on the left)

To request a virtual class visit with a ranger, go to, scroll down to “Online Classroom Visits.”

Presenters: Abby Olson and Lyndon Torstenson; Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, National Park Service

Watch it here! (Length: 39:58)

A model stream

Learn how streams determine their path. See how changes in stream water flow and stream bank condition can quickly alter how a stream behaves. Learn where bugs and fish like to hang out in streams and how pollution can affect them. We will provide a video demonstrating these things both at actual streams and using the stream table. We will then be available after the video to answer questions.

Presenters: Eileen Campbell, Watershed Ecologist, Kim Laing, Stream Biologist, and Lee Ganske, River Lover; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Watch it here! (Length: 54:40)