Free river curriculum for teachers now online

Free river curriculum for teachers now online

Enough horsing around let’s get to the point. 

There’s a free, downloadable education program available to inspire youth to learn about something that affects everyone’s daily lives: Water.

And Major Rivers and his horse Aquifer are here to help.

This 10-day curriculum is designed to teach 4th and 5th-grade students about Texas’ water resources and how to wisely use this precious resource. Students are led through a water journey across the state by a seasoned Texas traveler named Major Rivers and his loyal horse, named Aquifer.


Water is, after all, a vital resource. The availability of a safe drinking water supply in the Brazos River basin, for example, ensures public health is protected and encourages economic growth.

In this course, Major Rivers and Aquafer discover rivers, streams, reservoirs, and aquifers while learning about the water cycle and how water is treated and consumed. Through the curriculum, students will identify basic facts about the Texas water supply, including regional differences in rainfall and the amount of water supplied by surface water and by groundwater. Students will also learn about the many ways water is used on a daily basis, including by those in municipal, agricultural, recreational and electric fields. Lessons cover the difference between point source and nonpoint source pollution, and the processes of the water distribution system in Texas, which includes details on wells and reservoirs, pipelines, water and wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, and recycled water.

The program is designed for use as part of either a science, social studies, math or language arts curriculum. The teaching package includes electronic versions of student workbooks, pre-and post-tests, home information guides, suggestions and instructions on presenting the material, including lesson plans, fun hands-on experiments, and overhead transparencies.

The Brazos River spilling into the Gulf. Photo courtesy of John Hicks

The Major Rivers Water Education Program was developed by the Lower Colorado River Authority in the late 1980s with input from educators and other state water organizations. An updated edition was released in 2003 and is correlated with state standards.

The Brazos River Authority has sponsored and supplied the Major Rivers program packages free-of-charge to schools within the Brazos River basin since the early 1990s. The BRA’s water supply system provides water to millions of Texans whether through their taps, through the electricity they use in their homes, to the industries that produce the products they use every day, to the farmers and ranchers who produce their food, and a host of other direct and indirect means. 

The Brazos River Authority works every day to ensure the Brazos basin will continue to have access to water by building and maintaining reservoirs, securing groundwater and participating in statewide water planning efforts. However, we can all help manage our water resources here in Texas by using our existing water wisely.

Teaching our youth the important role water plays is a big step toward conservation. And now, the entire Major Rivers educational program is accessible online and available for download.

So, giddy up over to check it out yourself.

For questions about Major Rivers, contact the Texas Water Development Board conservation education specialist at Consedu@twdb.texas.gov or go here to download the material.