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About the unit

Autumn Year5Investigating Rivers including World rivers


About theunit

This isa 'long' unit. In it, children learn, through fieldwork andresearch, about rivers and the effects they have on the landscape.The unit focuses on:

  • thecomponents of the water cycle
  • howrivers erode, transport and deposit materials to produce particularlandscape features
  • thecharacteristics of a river system in another part of theworld


In thisunit, children are likely to use:

  • watercycle, rainfall, source, spring, river, stream, hill, slope, steep,mountain, waterfall, valley, channel, lake, mouth, erosion,pollution, landscape

Theymay also use:

  • tributary, reservoir, drain, weir, floodplain, meander,gorge, rapids, estuary, delta, weathering, transportation,deposition


Most children will:recognise selected physical processes relatingto rivers and begin to appreciate how these can change thecharacter of places; draw on their own observations and secondarysources and use their awareness of river events to suggestgeographical questions and raise issues that might be studied,eg floods, drought, pollution

Some children will not have made somuch progress and will: offer appropriate observations about river features;identify how people affect the environment and recognise ways inwhich people try to manage it

Some children will have progressedfurther and will also: use confidently a full range of skills anddifferent kinds of maps and resources to undertake independentinvestigations; offer explanations for river features observed;relate local river work to generalisations about riverselsewhere


Week and learningobjective



Plenary and assessment


Week 1

Concept map

1st day back atschool

What can you tell me aboutrivers? What are rivers used for?

What is a river, why arerivers important, what do rivers carry, how are riversformed?

Name rivers locally, in theUK, around the world

Locate on map (IWB world map)

Assess priorknowledge

Discuss activities for thefuture

Spider map on IWB

Save forend of unit



Week 2

Where does water comefrom?


Geography: 2a)e), 4a), 6c)

Sc1: 2l)
Sc3 2b) d) e)

Who lives by the riverExe / Lowman? Where does the water come from? What do you do inthe river?

Discuss the watercycle

Where do rivers start,finish?

How does the water getthere
Why is the sea salty but the rivers clean?

Show water cycle sheet onIWB

Illustrate with boilingkettle and mirror

Children to complete watercycle wsheet stick in geog bk

Cloze for LA

Definition of key terms inGeog book

Extn wordsearch,Xword

PPDictionary for key vocab for class

To identify and understandthe components of the water cycle.

To use the terms watercycle, condensation and evaporation.

Without Geog bks givedefinitions for evaporation, condensation water cycle


PP fromMA children

The WC occurs in yourhouse, where?TPs

Watercycle in G bks

Q &A

IWB andwebsites

Water cyclewordsheets

Week 3

Where does water goto?


Geography 1a 1b 1c 2b2e 6c 7c


Recap the watercycle

Explain that we are goingto investigate what happens to the rainfall when it reaches theground

Enquiry qus

Where are there areas ofwater after rain?

How does the water reachthe drains?

Why is the goal mouthoften muddier than the outfield?

What happens to thewater after it reaches the ground?

On a map of the playgroundmark likely area of puddles. Why does the water collectthere? Talk about permeable and impermeable surfaces

Into playgroundactivities

  • mapping puddles
  • soaking the waterup

Mark on base maps whereinvestigation took place

Also observe roofs anddrains esp new build

TAKE PHOTOS (esppuddles)

Brief summary in booksabout where the rain goes when it reaches the playground at StJohns




Know that rainwater travelsin different ways according to the site where it has fallen.

Understand the termsimpermeable, permeable, rainfall, run off, channel, water cycle,condensation and evaporation.

Discuss results andreasons

Relate to vocab

What is the water run offlike in their gardens?

How does water run offcompare between town and country


Where does the water gofrom a drain?


Photocopy each activity sheet for each child to have acopy

Gluein book

Map of the schoolgrounds


Red and greenpencils,

Puddles if required!

Chalk or string orcamera.




Week 4

Does everyone have as muchwater as we do?


Geog 1c 1d 1e 3a 3c 3e3g 5a 5b 6c 6d 6e



For LP

Use atlas to find eachcountry

Ball game with lots of bluechalk

GpSp and L activities

A K & U of global patternsof water availability and use

Posters created


Working cooperatively

Web site resources

Week 5

Visit from water



Geog 1c 1d 1e 3a 3c 3e3g 5a 5b 6c 6d 6e


Steve Dyer 2pm

REMEMBER letter to parentsfor donations

Understanding of how we canhelp ensure that everyone has access to clean water



Week 6

Rivers and streams


Geog 2a 2d 4a 4b6c



Where does a stream comefrom?

What does it flowthrough?

What features can yousee? Meander, valley, riverbank

Discuss erosion etc use BBCsite

Complete Journey of a riverwsheet

Geographical featuresassociated with rivers and streams

Processes of erosion,deposition and transportation

Look at Amazon river identify main features



Review key feature of ariver and key processes associated with a river system




BBC website best forteaching

Look at swgfl for the riverExe local knowledge

Week 7

Rivers and streams onmaps




Geog 1a 2a 2c 2d6c

Assess ability to readmap

What colour is thestream / river?

Give children a map, findTiverton and then River Exe. No further instructions

Then teach about gridreferences and help


Locate river Exe and traceroute with finger on the map Cf with

Identify rivers features,tribs, confluences, sources, meander and valley

Draw a sketch map of theriver and label main features from the OS map.

Provide grid references asnecessary

Using town map identifyroute from school to field site visit and colour (stick in Geogbooks)

Identify river features onan OS map

Plan route to fieldtrip







Plot an accurate route to river exe/lowman

Draw an accurate sketch map of River Exe

OS maps


Town maps

Coloured pencils






Plan fieldtrip

  • riskassessment
  • measurements
  • river walk (timeit)
  • photos
  • preparewsheets

Week 9

River walkpreparation

Recap water cycle

Recap features of ariver

What could weinvestigate on our river walk? How?

Discuss safety andriverwatch safety code

Outline event




Week 10

Visit river Lowman (AmoryPark)

Walk along River Exe on theway back to school

HELP needed

Geog 1a 1b 2a 2b 4a 6c7c

See separate lessonplan

Lowman mainactivities


R. Exe for confluence, leatwhy is it there?

Identify parts of the riversystem

Identify river features inthe field

Record changes along arivers course

Map a river section andshow land use



See LP

Week 11

Analysing the riverdata


Geog 1c 2a 2f 4a 4b6c

See separate lessonplan




Week 12

Pollution of rivers

Speaker from EA


Geog 1a 1e

Invite EA spokesperson totalk about pollution along the River Exe and Lowman

How has the river changedover the last 50 years?

Speak to Heidi about Devonwebsite (maps)

Brief bullet points on mainpoints made by EA


Relate discussion back toweeks 4 and 5 pollution in WW water sources, could the samehappen to us in the UK?

Why / not?




Week 13

Investigate World rivers inteams PPt presentation


Geog 3b 5a 6c

Group work ( 5 )ICT suite, internet

Use hotlinks page toinvestigate major world rivers. Explore each continent

Litlink with notetaking

Allow time in lit forthis

The scale of some of theworlds rivers and where they are

What people use riversfor

Usingsecondary resources

ICTobjectives importing images, ppt, using the internet




Prompt sheet forquestions

Week 14

Sp & L

Present PPt

Each group to present theirPPt on world rivers

Competition, secret ballotPrize for everyone but top 2 to be rewarded




Week 15

End of unitassessment



Slam / mastermindactivity


Assessment sheet

Assessment sheetcloze?

WBs and pens

Week 16

Nolesson EOT