The Show Us Your Mussels Challenge
Minnesota middle and high school students create original digital media campaigns educating the public about the importance of native mussels, the impact of water quality has on native mussels, and what actions we need to take to ensure their survival. The school groups who reach the most people in combination with receiving the most votes win a FREE field trip to the Minnesota Zoo! A free field trip includes bussing, Zoo admission for participating students and adult chaperones (as per student/adult ratios), parking and interactive session with our Zoo staff at the Mussel cabin.
All participating schools receive support from the Zoo’s mussel education staff including professional development, access to resources and curriculum, and school visits. For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions below or email us at [email protected].
Here are a few past participating projects:
REGISTRATION FOR THE 2023-2024 CHALLENGE is now open!
Free Professional Development
Signed up for the Challenge and don’t know where to start? Here are two options to get you started.
Virtual Teacher Training (90 minutes, on-demand viewing)
Watch the Show Us Your Mussels Virtual Teacher Training videos to learn more about native freshwater mussels, water quality, and the Minnesota Zoo and DNR’s important mussel conservation work. This training is self-guided, allowing you to access the information at a time and place that works for you. The training is divided into 9 different short videos so you can pick which topics work for you.
To watch this asynchronous training, simply click on the following link to our YouTube playlist at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLM4y6zy8KyFM5jn6OF-FoXTkdynPs5N6z
In-Person Teacher Training (5 hours, at the Minnesota Zoo, Saturday, October 14)
Come to the Minnesota Zoo and learn about freshwater mussels through hands-on activities and a behind-the-scenes tour of our Mussel cabin. In addition to receiving CEUs, participants will leave with more knowledge of these at-risk species and resources to implement the Show Us Your Mussel Challenge for the 2023-2024 school year.
You must register to attend. Participation in the Challenge is not required to attend training. To register, click here.
2022-2023 Show Us Your Mussel Winners!
The Minnesota Zoo would like to thank the 15 schools who participated in the Show Us Your Mussel Challenge this year. This year they reached over 42,000 people!
Apollo High School (St Cloud)
Braham Area Schools (Braham)
Brooklyn Middle STEAM School (Brooklyn Center)
Cretin-Durham Hall (St Paul)
Discovery Public School (Faribault)
Harbor City International (Duluth)
Heritage E-Stem (West St Paul)
Humboldt High School (St Paul)
Lakeview School (Cottonwood)
Melrose High School (Melrose)
NRHEG Elem (New Richland)
Shakopee West Middle (Shakopee)
School of Environmental Studies (Apple Valley)
SoWashCo Online High School (South Washington County)
Washburn High School (Minneapolis)
Frequently Asked Questions
The school groups that get the message out to the most people will receive FREE field trips to the Minnesota Zoo including bussing, admission, parking and interactive sessions about our Mussel Conservation program.
In addition, creating a digital media campaign can be a powerful hands-on strategy to help students highlight their science research projects, retain content knowledge and even increase learning goals.
The project can be implemented to address the following benchmarks:
- Minnesota Science Standards related to:
- System Relationships
- Changes in Ecosystems
- Humans Effects on Ecosystems
- Decisions and Health
- Impact of Chemical Technology
- Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES)
- Earth Systems and Resources (10%–15%)
- Global Water Resources and Use
- The Living World (10%–15%)
- Ecosystem Structure and Diversity
- Natural Ecosystem Change
- Pollution (25%–30%)
- Pollution Types
- Impacts on the Environment and Human Health
- Economic Impacts
- Global Change (10%–15%)
- Loss of Biodiversity
- Earth Systems and Resources (10%–15%)
- Minnesota English Language Arts related to:
- Comprehension and Collaboration
- Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
- Media Literacy
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards related to:
- Digital Citizen
- Knowledge Constructor
- Creative Communicator
- Yes! To access our Free Downloadable curriculum, click here.
To watch this asynchronous training, simply clink on the following link to our YouTube playlist at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLM4y6zy8KyFM5jn6OF-FoXTkdynPs5N6z
Or, join us in-person, Saturday, October 14 from 10 am-3 pm. Come to the Minnesota Zoo and learn about freshwater mussels through hands-on activities and a behind-the-scenes tour of our Mussel cabin. In addition to receiving CEUs, participants will leave with more knowledge of these at-risk species and resources to implement the Show Us Your Mussels Challenge for the 2023-2024 school year.
Besides having a digital component, the campaign must encourage community members to take some kind of action to improve water quality and conserve native mussel populations.
Projects may be created by individual students or in small groups. Each school may have as many campaigns going on at the same time as they wish. Winning schools will be selected based on the total amount of votes that school receives and how many people are reached by the campaign.
This year we would like students to focus on the following actions to improve water quality:
Pet waste that washes off lawns and parks during rain and snow melt events contribute to harmful bacteria and nutrient contamination of our river water. Impaired water can become so bad that swimming is not recommended within 48 hours of a rainstorm. Help prevent this by always carrying bags to pick up pet waste and disposing of them in the trash or flush it down the toilet without the bag.
Boating & Fishing, Clean in Clean Out
Invasive zebra mussels that harm our native mussels attach to boat docks and boat hulls. If you use a boat, you can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels by removing all aquatic plants from the boat and trailer, draining all of the water from your boat and bait bucket, never dipping a bucket into a lake if the bucket contains water from another lake, and allowing your boat and trailer to dry in the sun for at least five days before using them in other waters.
Winners will be selected based on two criteria: 1) number of votes received online and 2) number of people reached by the campaign.
The Zoo will provide teachers with a link to embed in student projects. When a member of the public clicks on the link it will send them directly to the voting site. They will be prompted to answer two simple questions and vote for that school. Each person can vote once. Number of votes earned will be reported to schools weekly. The voting portion of the campaign will be open from February 1-28, 2023.
As part of the project, students will be responsible for keeping track of how many people they reach through the campaign. This will mean counting likes, follows, shares, etc. and reporting them back through to the Zoo. Each student group will complete a reflection form which describes their project and its reach. Reflections forms must be completed by the end of the day on March 10, 2023.
Registration deadline: December 21, 2023
Live Campaign: February 1-29, 2024
To register, fill out the simple form at the top of this webpage or email your name, name of school, grade level and number of students participating to [email protected].
Once registered, teachers can decide how/when to develop campaigns in their classrooms. However, the website for tracking votes will only be live from February 1-29, 2024. This is the timeframe where students will track how many people are reached through their campaign.
Participants from the schools with the highest combined votes and reach will receive a FREE field trip to the Minnesota Zoo including bussing, parking and admission. They will also receive a behind the scenes tour of mussel conservation work at the Zoo.
Winners will be announced by March 15, 2024.
By the end of the 2023-2024 School Year. The exact dates and times will be arranged with the Minnesota Zoo and the winning schools.
|Spring/Summer 2023||Registration opens for the 2023-2024 Challenge|
|Thursday, December 21, 2023||Registration closes for the Challenge.|
|January 2024||Teachers receive weekly emails and a link to embed in student projects.|
|February 1- 29, 2024||Site is open for voting.|
|Friday, March 8, 2024||Student reflection forms due to the Zoo.|
|Friday, March 15, 2024||Winners contacted by the Zoo.|
|April-June 2024||Field trips for winning schools.|