River As a Classroom

Grades 5-8


The Merrimack Riverwatershed – shaped by human and natural influences – serves as a living laboratory for the study of ecosystems and earth science. In the role of scientists, students will:

  • Travel by boat on the Merrimack River or in Lowell’s canals (depending on flow rates) to explore how natural and human forces are changing in the Merrimack Watershed.
  • Collect water samples, perform tests, and analyze data (pdf).
  • Build and test water filters to assess their ability to clean polluted water.
  • Use models to explore how the world's water is distributed.

We have many resources to help prepare your students for their visit, and extend learning afterwards. 

All of our programs have been reviewed to ensure their relevance to state and national standards.

Program Details

  • Field Trip Fee: $280 per group for our River as a Classroom program.
  • Group Size: Up to 30 students per group.
  • Chaperones: We require a minimum of two (2) adults per group – with a ratio of one (1) adult for every ten (10) students.
    • Each group should include a teacher, one or two chaperones, plus any additional staff (aides, nurses, etc.) your group requires. Maximum of six (6) adults per group.
    • Special note for River as a Classroom: the boat capacity is 30 students and 3 adults.

Plan your visit now

Special River As A Classroom Program Details

Note: Schools must arrange to keep buses in Lowell for use during this program. Students conduct outdoor investigations and should dress appropriately.

Available: May - June, 2022.

Programs can be reserved by calling us at 978-970-5080 to make a reservation for your class.


The Tsongas Industrial History Center is an education partnership between the University of Massachusetts Lowell School of Education and the National Park Service at Lowell National Historical Park.

  • UMass Lowell
  • National Park Service