Geography KS3: The Ganges

Three 13-year-old pupils from London, Dua, Amalia and Nayan, are on a trip of a lifetime to discover the river Ganges in India.

They are in Patna, which is located on the middle course of the river where the Ganges is over 4km wide.

The Ganges is one of the world’s biggest rivers, and seven times the size of the river Severn, Britain’s longest river.

They discover that the source of the Ganges is in the Himalayas and the deltas of the Ganges, as it reaches the Indian Ocean, are in Bangladesh.

They meet a local scientist as they travel along the river, and discuss how the river is deemed sacred to Hindus and a lifeline to local people who use the river to irrigate their crops, to wash and to travel, yet it is heavily polluted.

The pollution affects the river dolphin population.

The pupils discover that the course of the river changes as it slows and it deposits sediment, which affects the navigation of boats.

This sediment helps provide the farmers with rich, fertile soil when the river floods during the monsoon.

This clip is from the series Exploration India.

Teacher Notes

The exploration of the river Ganges is an opportunity to see how humans depend on rivers but also pollute them.

The Ganges is one of the world’s largest rivers and comparative discharge, length and drainage area could be investigated.

How the river is considered sacred to Hindus, who bathe in its waters which are considered pure, could be studied alongside the demands on the river which mean it is actually heavily polluted.

The plight of the blind river dolphin can be explored in relation to this.

Patna is in the middle course of the river, and deposition of fluvial sediment is occurring here as the river slows.

The implications of the river becoming shallower for navigating boats can be seen.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Geography at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

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