Key Stage 1 We Are Britain
Rivers and Canals

Learn about rivers and canals with Ratty and Moley. Carry out an investigation to find out how rivers begin and develop. Journey down a river, create rivers and canals and discover the differences. Track animals and create your own animal evidence. Discover the significance of rivers and canals in industry, and investigate weaving. Build your own boats and launch them during the final session- the fact picnic. Share all your knowledge, not forgetting the food!

Session 1 Why are rivers wiggly?

Objectives

Geography

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to key physical features, including rivers.

Planning and Activities

Children will be introduced to Ratty and Moley from Wind in the Willows. Moley and Ratty help children learn more about rivers and how they begin, by investigating the answers to two important questions.

Teaching Outcomes
To know that a river flows downwards from high ground to the sea/lakes and that it shapes the landscape.
To begin to learn some geographical vocabulary associated with rivers.

Children will:

  • Learn how rivers begin on high ground and that they move in one direction.
  • Learn how rivers change shape.
  • Begin to notice features of a river.

You Will Need

  • Puppet of a rat and mole
  • Sand
  • Different sized stones
  • Container for your river
  • Watering cans.

Session 2 Wonderful weaving

Objectives

Geography

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: key physical features, including: rivers.

Art

  • Use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.

Design and Technology

  • Select from and use a wide range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks, e.g. cutting, shaping, joining and finishing.

Planning and Activities

Ratty and Moley will take children on a river journey. They will find out more facts about the river Thames and other important rivers in the UK. They will make their own weaving looms and class picnic basket in which to place facts they learn along the way.

Teaching Outcomes
To describe the physical features of a river, name and locate rivers in the UK.
To experiment with weaving using different materials.
To make a loom using simple joining techniques.

Children will:

  • Describe the physical features of a river.
  • Name and locate rivers in the UK.
  • Experiment with weaving using different materials.
  • Make a loom using simple joining techniques such as glue, wool or string

You Will Need

  • Atlases for the class
  • Lolly sticks to make a loom
  • Ribbons
  • Wool
  • Crepe paper and other materials to weave.

Session 3 What is the difference?

Objectives

Geography

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: key physical features.

Design and Technology

  • Select from and use a wide range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks, e.g. cutting, shaping, joining and finishing.

Planning and Activities

Children will create their own canals and journey down a canal in a narrow boat. They will discuss the differences between canals and rivers and create their own boats using different materials. 

Teaching Outcomes
To understand the importance and differences between rivers and canals and name some different ways that they are used.
To build boats from a variety of materials using different joining techniques.

Children will:

  • Know the key differences between rivers and canals.
  • Understand different purposes of rivers/canals.
  • Make a boat out of a variety of materials using simple joining techniques such as glue and string

You Will Need

  • Hand drill
  • Scalpel
  • Hammer and nails
  • Boat-making materials
  • Plastic boats
  • Lego and Lego people
  • Sugar cubes.

Session 4 Animal tracks and signs

Objectives

Science

  • Identify and name a variety of common animals, observing closely.

Planning and Activities

Ratty and Moley take children animal tracking where they will learn to recognise animal tracks and signs. They will play an animal matching game where they will learn about animal scat- don´t forget to hold your nose! Finally, they will create their own scat in their scientific laboratory.

Teaching Outcomes
To learn about animals that live by the canal/river and their tracks/signs.

Children will:

  • Play a game which applies knowledge of animals signs/tracks.
  • Identify animals that live by the canal and rivers.
  • Make an animal scat out of oats.

Provided Resources

  • Information sheet on Identifying animals
  • Animal scat identification worksheet

You Will Need

  • Clipboards
  • Animal clues: feathers, acorns, leaves, sticks, fur
  • A container filled with piles of mud
  • Scat mixture ingredients: measuring cup, oats, cocoa powder, teaspoon, water.

Session 5 Fact picnic!

Objectives

Geography

  • Understand and describe key aspects of physical geography including: rivers, mountains and the water cycle.

Planning and Activities

Mole, Ratty and the class go on a fact picnic. Children will visit a local river/canal, groups will take turns to play pooh sticks, do some wildlife spotting, launch their boats, make leaf rubbings and finally they will enjoy a fact picnic where they will share everything that they have learnt.

Teaching Outcomes
To know and review the key features of rivers and use the correct geographical vocabulary.

Children will:

  • Use knowledge gained to describe river features and use river related vocabulary.
  • Consolidate knowledge during the past sessions and recall key facts in a fact picnic.
  • Take their model boats and launch at the local river/canal.

Provided Resources

  • Information sheets covering: How to prepare a waste-free picnic
  • Recording wildlife
  • Nature art ideas

You Will Need

  • The boats made in session 3
  • First aid kit
  • Mobile phone
  • Camera
  • Picnic basket with facts
  • Clipboards