Rivers have always been extremely important for people. Find out about the importance of rivers in settlements, travel and farming. Investigate bridges, irrigation, and the industrial use of rivers too. Design and make your own water wheel!

Session 1 River crossings

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand the key aspects of human and physical geography including land use and rivers.
  • Use maps and atlases to locate and describe features studied.

Science

  • Set up simple, practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests.
  • Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about how people cross over rivers and about different bridge designs; test bridge strength and begin to understand how forces act on bridges.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the different ways people have found to cross over rivers and the challenges each presents.
  • To investigate the strength of different shaped bridges; developing skills of measuring, fair testing and collaboration.

Children will:

  • Understand the different ways people cross rivers.
  • Know how place names can be derived from river crossings.
  • Play a quiz game that will help them learn about some well known bridges.
  • Investigate the strength of different bridges, measuring variables and recording results.
  • Begin to understand the scientific forces that act on bridges.

You Will Need

  • Plenty of books to make river banks
  • Sheets of A3 card
  • Multilink cubes

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.

Session 2 Rivers for life

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of: physical geography including rivers and vegetation belts, human geography including, settlement, land use and the distribution of water.

Science

  • To explore the requirements of a plant for life and growth.
  • Set up simple, practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests.

Teaching and Activities

Investigate the importance of the Nile to life in Egypt and make a simulation model with water flowing through a crop of cress seeds.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand how the availability of water (or lack of it) determines the type of land (farmland or desert) and the distribution of the population, with particular reference to Egypt.
  • To set up a simulation to investigate the effect of a river flowing through a desert on the growth of crops.

Children will:

  • Learn about the importance of the Nile to life in Egypt and answer key questions about it for a display.
  • Make a simulation model of Egypt with the River Nile flowing through it, planting cress seeds to simulate crops.

You Will Need

  • Google Earth
  • Plastic school storage trays
  • An atomiser water spray
  • 5 strong carrier bags
  • Strong tape
  • Kitchen paper
  • 5 small pots of PVA glue diluted 1:1 with water
  • About 40 small stones or pebbles
  • 5 packets of cress seeds
  • Access to the internet
  • Printouts from websites on the Nile
  • Atlases

Session 3 Settlements along rivers

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of: physical geography including rivers and vegetation belts, human geography including: settlement, land use and the distribution of water.

Teaching and Activities

Review the importance of rivers and rainfall in the growing of crops; investigate the relationship between rivers and settlements in Britain.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To investigate and begin to understand the relationship between rivers and the size of settlements in Britain.

Children will:

  • Review the cress seed models of the river Nile and surrounding desert and draw conclusions about the importance of rivers and rainfall in the growing of crops.
  • Understand the importance of the River Nile to life in Egypt and make an information sheet (Easy/Medium).
  • Investigate the relationship between rivers and settlements in Britain by finding the mapped area of towns and cities along the course of 5 different rivers.

You Will Need

  • Cress seed models of river Nile and the surrounding desert
  • Access to Google Maps
  • Photocopied pages from a giant AA road atlas
  • Acetate sheets with a 1cm grid photocopied onto it

Session 4 Rivers for transport, industry and leisure

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of: physical geography including rivers and vegetation belts, human geography including, settlement, land use and the distribution of water.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about how we use rivers for transport, industry and leisure; make a tourist leaflet or turning explanation wheel; play a game to show you understand these categories of river use.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of rivers for people and to name some different ways that people use rivers.

Children will:

  • Learn about the different ways in which rivers are used by people.
  • Make a tourist leaflet or turning explanation wheel to demonstrate their knowledge.
  • Play a game to reinforce understanding of the different categories of river use by people.

You Will Need

  • Flip chart and pens
  • A few tourist leaflets
  • An extra sheet of A4 white card
  • A lump of sticky tack
  • Plenary Game copied onto card and cut up into a set of cards

Session 5 River power

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of: physical geography including rivers, human geography including, settlement, land use and the distribution of water.

D&T

  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately.
  • Select and use a wider range of materials and components … according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about different types of waterpower including hydroelectric power stations; investigate traditional waterwheels and then design and make a waterwheel using recycled packaging.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of rivers for people and to name some different ways that people use rivers.
  • To understand the technology behind a traditional water mill and use this knowledge to design and make a model waterwheel.

Children will:

  • Learn about the different types of water power including hydroelectric power stations.
  • Learn how water drove a traditional waterwheel to create power to drive machinery.
  • Design and make a waterwheel using recycled packaging, testing and refining it during the making process.

You Will Need

  • A large selection of clean recycled packaging
  • Large plastic, metal or cardboard cylinders
  • Cardboard boxes of various sizes
  • Egg boxes, aluminium cases, small containers
  • 5mm Wooden dowelling
  • 5mm plastic tubing
  • A bradawl or similar sharp tool
  • Junior hacksaws and bench hooks
  • Split pins
  • Lumps of plasticine or sticky tack
  • Jugs of fine, dry sand
  • A large tray
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks.