The River City Project concentrates on the areas of epidemiology, scientific inquiry, and experimentation. Based on recommendations outlined by the National Research Council (2000), the River City Curriculum supports students as they:

Learn the principles and concepts of science
Acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists
Devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas and understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful.
River City is a 17 hour, time-on-task curriculum that includes a pretest and a research conference at the end of the unit. Teachers are not expected to find extra time in the school year in order to implement River City. On the contrary, the River City Curriculum is designed and intended to replace existing lessons. The River City Curriculum is interdisciplinary in scope, spanning the domains of ecology, health, biology, chemistry, and earth science, as well as history.

Three diseases simultaneously affect health in River City, based on historical, social, and geographical content. As students explore these diseases, they learn how disease is spread and how human interactions can have effects far from the initial site. This situation allows students to experience the realities of identifying a problem, investigating it, and delineating the multiple causes that underlie a complex phenomenon. Students follow multiple threads that potentially lead to very different hypotheses and experiments. This helps refute the common belief that there is one right answer to any science experiment.

The River City Curriculum is a roadmap to a destination – an understanding of scientific inquiry.
We view the teachers as "expert drivers" because they:
Know the terrain better than anyone (the students, parents, researchers)
Decide when to speed up and slow down and emphasize and highlight what they think is most important.