how long is our Ohio river? – A

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Math Skill: Number comparison &  <, > & = symbols (4-digit numbers)

Science Skill: Earth Water

Grade level: 3rd4th grades

Area level: National-scale

Environmental Area: Water

Purpose: Develop awareness of our main water resource, the Ohio River, and develop awareness of water conservation



The majority of drinking water for the residents of Southwest Indiana comes from the Ohio River. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Ohio River is about 1,310 miles long and the largest river, by volume, that flows into the Mississippi River—the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. It flows through or borders 6 states—Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.

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Ohio River Basin Map  (Source: US Army Corps of Engineers)

Prior to European conquest, the Ohio River was important in the history of Native Americans whocreated successful cultures along the valley. Angel Mounds, located in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties, is one of the numerous civilized towns that were formed by the prehistoric Native Americans who used the River for travel and trade.

Now, the Ohio River is a vital water source for more than three million people, and over 25 million people, almost 10% of the U.S. population, live within the Ohio River Basin. In the City of Evansville, for example, about 25 million gallons of water are extracted from the Ohio River everyday through the City of Evansville’s Water Department and distributed to about 600,000 customers. Evansville’s drinking water is treated at the Evansville filtration plant and its quality meets or exceeds all state and federal regulations.

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  • For thousands of years, Native Americans used the Ohio River as a major transportation and trading route.
  • The River’s name came from ohiːyoːh that means “good river” as the River was a prime route that went through the lower Mississippi during the pre-Colombian era. 
  • The River was the southern boundary of the Northwest Territory during the 19th century. 
  • Thomas Jefferson described in his Notes on the State of Virginia, in 1781 : “The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted.”


The purpose of this activity is to enhance students’ skills in number and operations, including number comparison, place value, addition and subtraction, and rounding, and creation of bar graphs, while promoting their understanding of our main source of water—the Ohio River. This activity is created based on the length of some of the largest rivers in the United States, such as the Missouri River and Mississippi River. The data was obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey.

worksheet & answer key

Math Skill: Number comparison &  <, > & = symbols (4-digit numbers)

Using the table that shows the length of five rivers, students are asked to compare 3-and 4- digit numbers. They also use the symbols <, >, =  to compare the numbers.



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