Geography KS3 / GCSE: How does a river change as it travels downstream?

Liz Bonnin introduces BBC archive footage of Sir David Attenborough as he follows the Amazon River downstream.

Sir David explains how the characteristics of a river change and how dramatic scenery results from the erosion of rocks.

He also explains how waterfalls form in the upper course of a river and meanders are found in the lower course.

The formation of ox-bow lakes is also shown.

Sir David Attenborough also talks about the Yellow River in China as well as other major rivers around the world.

This short film is from the BBC series. Physical Geography with Liz Bonnin.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3

This short film could be used to introduce or to reinforce to students how a river changes as it moves downstream.

It will provide students with an introduction to the features of waterfalls, meanders and ox-bow lakes.

After watching this short film students could consider the formation of these features in more detail.

Key Stage 4

This short film could be shown to allow students to put their learning of river features into context - showing what an ox-bow lake and waterfall look like in real life.

Students could be asked to draw the detailed formation from memory having watched this clip.

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in geography at KS3 and KS4 / GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 in Scotland.

More geography clips with Liz Bonnin:

What is the water cycle?
The erosion of the Grand Canyon
What coastal management techniques are being used on Hayling Island?
What is a ‘spit’ and how does it form through longshore drift?
The geological significance of the Jurassic Coast
How has ice and other processes impacted the landscape of Yorkshire?
What does the North Norfolk coastline tell us about how glaciation shaped Britain?
Glaciation of the Northern Hemisphere
What evidence is there for a changing climate in the UK?
The continued impact of plate tectonics on our oceans
What can Anglesey tell us about the plate tectonics of Britain?
Deforestation and soya growth in Paraguay