Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 11 - Important Rivers of the World

Objectives
Become familiar with the terms source, mouth, tributary.
Define and locate drainage basins.

Materials
Classroom-size U.S. map
River clues worksheet (make into transparency)--Adapted from The Mailbox. April/May 1996.

Suggested Books
Student Titles
Ayer, Eleanor. Our Great Rivers and Waterways. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994.
Presents information on the great U.S. rivers, lakes, and waterways and describes how people explored, settled, and developed the U.S. interior along our river system.
Barrett, Norman. Rivers and Lakes. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989.
Includes information on how rivers shape the land and civilization.
Locker, Thomas. Where the River Begins. New York: Dial, 1984.
A grandfather takes his grandsons on a camping trip to find the source of the river that flows past their home.
Sauvain, Philip. Rivers and Valleys: Geography Detective. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1996.
Includes questions, activities, and information about rivers and related topics.
Taylor, Barbara. Rivers and Oceans: Geography Facts and Experiments. New York: Kingfisher, 1993.
Introduces the different forms of water in our world; the water cycle; stages in the life of a river; ocean currents; waves and tides; lakes; water pollution.
Williams, Vera. Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe. New York: Morrow, 1981.
Two children, their mother, and aunt enjoy nature during a three-day canoe trip.

Procedure
Review with the students that throughout history rivers shaped the places and the way that people chose to live--cities were built next to them, rivers made travel by boat possible, rivers provided water for drinking, bathing, and farming. Tell the students that rivers also shape the land itself. Explain that a river flows from its beginning called its source to the place where it empties into a larger body of water called its mouth. Write the terms on the board.
Tell the students the source or beginning of many rivers is rainwater that collects in small hollows or ditches and moves over the surface of the land to form a stream. Several streams flow together to make a river. The sources of other rivers are mountain springs, lakes, and glaciers. Direct the students' attention to the Mississippi River on the classroom-size U.S. map. Show the students that the Mississippi River's source is Lake Itasca in the state of Minnesota and its mouth is found at the Gulf of Mexico. Ask: In which state is the mouth of the Mississippi River located? (Louisiana)
On the map, trace the path of the Mississippi River going north. Point out that there are several rivers that flow into the Mississippi River. Explain that these rivers are called tributaries (write the term on the board). Tell the students that a tributary is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or river--the Missouri and the Arkansas River are tributaries of the Mississippi River.

Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 11 - Important Rivers of the World
Tell the students that the Mississippi River is the largest river in North America and the third largest in the world. Direct the students' attention to the Pacific Northwest area of the United States. Tell the students that the second and third largest rivers in North America are the
Mackenzie River (2nd) and the Yukon River (3rd). Explain that the Mackenzie River is one of
Canada's major waterways. It flows through the northwestern part of Canada. Point out this area of Canada on the map. Ask: What sort of climate would you expect this far north of the equator? (cold) Explain to the students that because of the cold climate in this area, the Mackenzie River freezes from November to June. Show the students on the map that the mouth of the Mackenzie flows into the Mackenzie Bay off the Beauford Sea of the Arctic Ocean. Ask: What advantages and disadvantages are caused due to the Mackenzie freezing? (advantages--walk or drive across the frozen water, disadvantages--source of water frozen, cannot travel up and down the river by boat)
Tell the students that the third largest river, the Yukon, is also located in the northwestern part of North America. Point out on the map that the Yukon River begins in Alaska and flows through the Yukon territory into Canada. Explain to the students that although the Yukon is frozen during the months of October-June, the river is an important supply route into Alaska. Also, the Yukon is an important waterway for shipping, fishing, and after the discovery of gold in the Yukon, a supply route for the gold miners.
Tell the students that although rivers are noted for their length--the longest river on a continent, the longest river in the world--rivers are also well known because of the area of land that the river and its tributaries drain water from. That area is called a river's drainage basin (write the term on the board). For example, the Mississippi River and its tributaries drain water from the area of land roughly equal to half the size of the United States. Trace on a U.S. map the tributaries that feed into the Mississippi River and show the land area from which the rivers drain. (A few are the Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, and Yellowstone Rivers.)
Review with the students the definitions of source, mouth, tributaries, and drainage basin. Display the transparency. Using a classroom-size U.S. map, ask the students to help you fill in information about the Mississippi River.

Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 11 - Important Rivers of the World

 Name of the river
 
 

Adapted from The Mailbox. April/May1996.
 
 
 

Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 12 - Important Rivers of the World

Objectives
Review the terms source, mouth, tributary.
Locate six of the continents and become familiar with major rivers that exist on each.

Materials
Classroom-size world map
Classroom-size U.S. map

Suggested Books
Student Titles
Barrett, Norman. Rivers and Lakes. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989.
Includes information on how rivers shape the land and civilization.
Sauvain, Philip. Rivers and Valleys: Geography Detective. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1996.
Includes questions, activities, and information about rivers and related topics.
Taylor, Barbara. Rivers and Oceans: Geography Facts and Experiments. New York: Kingfisher, 1993.
Introduces the different forms of water in our world; the water cycle; stages in the life of a river; ocean currents; waves and tides; lakes; water pollution.

Procedure
Review with the students that the beginning of a river is called its source. Ask the students to recall that the source of a river is where the river's water supply begins. Also have the students recall that the place where the river empties into a larger body of water is called its mouth. Write the terms on the board.
Remind the students that although rivers are noted for their length--the longest river on a continent, the longest river in the world--rivers are also well known because of the area of land that the river and its tributaries drain water from. Ask: What is this area of land called? (a river's drainage basin)
Tell the students that they are now going to be looking at important rivers on each of the continents except for Antarctica. As they are introduced, write the names of each of the rivers on the board next to the continent on which they are located. Ask: Why aren't there any rivers on Antarctica? (The land of Antarctica is frozen.) Ask: What is the largest river in North America? (the Mississippi River) Have a student locate the Mississippi River on the U.S. map or world map. Ask if anyone remembers how large an area the Mississippi River and its tributaries drain water from? (An area equal to roughly half the size of the United States.)
Direct the students' attention to the continent of South America. Have a student locate the continent of South America on the map. Tell the students that the longest river in South America is called the Amazon River. Explain that the Amazon River is the most powerful river in the world. It carries more water to the sea than any other river. Locate the Amazon River on the world map. Tell the students that the source of the Amazon River comes from the melting snow in the Andes Mountains and its mouth empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Trace with your finger the Amazon from its beginning to its end. Point out that the Amazon River is close to the equator, where the climate is very hot and very wet. Explain to the students that the heat and the moisture create thick tropical rainforests throughout much of the Amazon River's drainage basin.

Tell the students that two other important rivers in South America are the Orinoco to the north in Venezuela and the Parana to the south in Brazil and Argentina. Point out the rivers' locations on the map. Have the students note where these two rivers originate. (in the mountains) empty. (into the Atlantic Ocean) Also, have the students note the area in each of the countries which would form the drainage basin for each of the rivers.
Next, direct the students' attention to the continent of Europe. Have a student locate the continent on the map. On the world map, point out the Volga, Rhine, Danube. Ask the students to notice which large body of water each river joins. Trace the routes of the rivers. Ask: Into which body of water does the Volga empty? (Caspian Sea) The Rhine? (North Sea) The Danube? (Black Sea) Tell the students that these rivers in Europe are very important for transportation. Have the children discuss why these rivers are important for transportation. Ask: What countries do they connect? Give the students the following example: boats can travel up the Rhine from the Netherlands through Germany to Switzerland; also, there are canals in Germany that connect the Rhine with the Danube, so a boat could travel all the way from the Netherlands to Russian ports on the Black Sea or to Istanbul in Turkey. (Show these routes on the map.)
Direct the students' attention south to the continent of Africa. Have a student locate the continent on the map. Tell the students that three of the major rivers in Africa are the Nile, the Niger, and the Zaire (Congo). Tell the students that the Nile is the longest river in the world. Locate the Nile on the map. Tell the students that the source of the Nile is Lake Victoria from which the river flows north through the countries of Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Trace with your finger the path of the Nile on the map. Next, show the students the location of the Zaire and Niger Rivers. Have the students notice that the rivers have names that are almost the same as one of the countries through which the rivers flow. Also, have the students note the area in each of the countries which would form the drainage basin for each of the rivers.
Next, direct the students' attention to the continent of Asia. Have a student locate the continent on the world map. Tell the students that the longest river in Asia is the Yangtze River in China. Have a student locate China on the world map. Explain that other major rivers in Asia are the Yellow or Huang He River--also in China, the Ob River in Russia, the Ganges River in India, and Indus River in Pakistan. Point out the locations of each of the rivers on the map. Have the students note how much of the country would form the drainage basin for each river.
Tell the students that every year rivers around the world flood their banks after heavy rains or after snow and ice melt causing the rivers to overflow. Although floods can cause horrible damage to towns along a river's banks, in many parts of the world people depend on floodwater to grow their crops. Explain that in China farmers plant rice seedlings in paddy fields that have been flooded. Discuss rivers anywhere in the world that have been in the news recently.
 

Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 13 - Important Rivers of the World

Objectives
Use an atlas or a world map to collect information about a river.
Record information about a major river by completing the river clues worksheet.

Materials
Classroom-size world map
Per group
Student atlas or world map (if available)
Worksheet (included)---Adapted from The Mailbox. April/May 1996.

Procedure
Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Give each group a river clues worksheet. Assign one of the following rivers to each group of students: Volga, Rhine, Danube (Europe); Murray-Darling (Australia); Mississippi. Mackenzie, Yukon (North America); Amazon, Orinoco, Parana (South America); Nile, Niger, Zaire [formerly the Congo River] (Africa);Yangtze, Ob, Yellow [Huang He], Ganges, Indus (Asia). Have each group complete the river clues worksheet by collecting information about the river from a world map or atlas and recording the information on the worksheet. (If there are not enough student world maps or atlases available for each group, have the groups take turns going up to the classroom world map to gather information.)
Once the groups have collected information regarding their assigned rivers, have each group present their clues to the rest of the class for them to figure out the river being presented. You may wish to make this into a contest by secretly assigning the rivers.
Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 13 - Important rivers of the world

Name of the river __________________________________________________________
 

Bibliography

Student Titles
Ayer, Eleanor. Our Great Rivers and Waterways. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994. (1-56294-441-X)
Barrett, Norman. Rivers and Lakes. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989. (0-531-10840-6)
Locker, Thomas. Where the River Begins. New York: Dial, 1984.
Sauvain, Philip. Rivers and Valleys: Geography Detective. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1996. (0-87614-996-4)
Taylor, Barbara. Rivers and Oceans: Geography Facts and Experiments. New York: Kingfisher, 1993. (1-85697-876-1)
Williams, Vera. Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe. New York: Morrow, 1981. (0-590-45985-6)

Teacher Resources
The Mississippi River: Father of Waters. Cobblestone. March 1990.
The Mailbox. April/May 1996. Volume 18, Number 2.
Copycat. March/April 1994. Volume 9, Number 4.