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20 October 2014
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Online Activities

What is a river?

This short section introduces the concept of a river and how it flows. It also explains how to use the glossary throughout the site to obtain further explanation of key words.

Extension activities:

  • Which is the nearest stream or river to your school? Which river system is it part of?

  • Follow it on a map: Which rivers join it? Which river does it join?

  • Make a map of the drainage basin. Can you work out the boundary of the catchment area?

How do rivers change?

An account of the physical features and processes which affect a river. This section includes Flash animations to demonstrate these processes. Stills versions are offered if you don't have the Flash plugin or don't wish to download it.

Extension activities:
  • Use the Internet to find out more about places that have been affected by flooding, e.g.:
    • Britain in the winter of 2000-20001
    • Lynmouth in 1952
    • Mozambique in 2000 and 2001
    • Bangladesh (flooding occurs almost every year)

  • Collect a newspaper picture of a person or people affected by flooding. Stick it in the centre of a sheet of paper and, round the edge, write the questions you would like to ask them about the flooding. What do you think they are thinking?

People and rivers?

People also influence the development of a river. This section looks at human use and management of rivers.

Extension activities:
  • How many different ways can you think of to cross a river? You might like to start a class collection of bridges, linking with Design and Technology and with Science. Sort your collection of pictures into different categories - for example, box girder, suspension.

  • Using an atlas or road atlas, list as many river settlements as you can that include the name of the river in the place name.

  • Using a road atlas, follow round the coast and find places with names that end in 'mouth'. Make a list of the place names and associated rivers.

What is a coast?

This short section introduces the concept of a coast and how it flows. It also explains how to use the glossary throughout the site to obtain further explanation of key words.

Extension activities:
  • Collect postcards from coastal locations in the British Isles.

  • Make a wall display of the postcards, linking them to a map of the British Isles.

How do coasts change?

An account of the physical processes which affect a river. This section includes Flash animations to demonstrate these processes. Stills versions are offered if you don't have the Flash plugin or don't wish to download it.

Extension activities:
  • The difference between water level at high and low tide can often be seen directly on vertical cliffs. What would you look for as an indicator of high water (high tide) on a) a beach and b) a cliff? Try to draw a diagram to explain this.

  • High water mark and low water mark are shown as lines on OS maps. If you live by the coast look at the local tide tables. Find out when spring and neap tides are, and the change in sea level that occurs with each. If you do not live near the coast, look in a national (broadsheet) newspaper.

People and coasts

People also influence the development of a coastline. This section looks at human use and management of coasts.

Extension activities:
  • Find out the names of docks, container ports, fishing ports, ferry ports. Mark them on a suitable map. Is there a pattern to their distribution?

  • Find out the location of the lifeboat stations and/or lighthouses around Britain and about the work the crew do. Record the BBC's shipping forecast (broadcast on Radio 4 at 0535 and 1248) and locate the areas mentioned.

  • Find out the difference between various forms of holiday accommodation. Make a list of the places children and their friends have visited on holiday and the sort of accommodation they stayed in. Make a poster to show the data pictorially - which sorts of graphs or diagrams are most appropriate? You could use ICT to do this.

  • Make a list of tourist attractions by the coast. Collect pictures of some of them, and link them to a map.

  • Make a list of the places in Britain, Europe and elsewhere in the world that children and their friends have visited. Fill in columns with, e.g., Child's Name; Place; Country; Continent; Description of Coast; Weather, Main reason for choice of locality (e.g. sun, sand, scenery, entertainment, cost); Distance from UK; Direction from UK; Transport; Journey time; Month/Year visited
    • Description of Coast could be a tick list: beach - sand/pebbles, cliffs, dunes, sea - warm/cold
    • Collect postcards or pictures from these places. Link them with a map or globe.

  • Collect some postcards of coast scenery, including some oblique aerial photographs. Choose one postcard and make an A4 black/white photocopy of it. Put the photocopy in a polypocket and make a field-sketch of it. Photocopy your field-sketch and annotate it - you could label the features and the land-use. Write down why you chose this picture from your collection of postcards. Write down three questions about the area in the picture that you would like to ask someone who lives there. Try to find the answers yourself!

The water cycle

Many pupils will have studied the water cycle in Year 3. This animation (stills version also available) offers a recap of the main principles.


What happens when rivers meet the coast?

Where a river flows into the sea has implications for both, so the two sections, Rivers and Coasts share content here.

Extension activities:
  • Make a list of river estuaries round Britain. Try to discover what is special about each estuary - its particular flora or fauna. If there is a nature reserve at the estuary, look it up on the internet. You could write a letter or email to the warden requesting, for example, information on migrating birds.

  • Locate the named deltas on a world map. Look them up on the internet and other electronic and paper sources. Make an information leaflet (one folded A4 sheet) about one delta - design it for tourists.

  • Try to discover other examples of natural barriers across river and estuary mouths.

Glossary

Both Rivers and Coasts sections have their own glossary, accessible directly from the left hand navigation bar or by clicking on words highlighted in blue throughout the site.

Where appropriate, the definition of a word includes a photograph to illustrate it.

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