The Topic:
Rivers

Easier - A river is a natural stream of fresh water larger than a brook or creek. A river flows toward another river, an ocean, a lake, or other large body of water.
 
Harder - A river's source may be rainfall, a melting snowfield or a glacier, a spring, or the overflow of a lake. Streams that flow at a river source are the headwaters and are at the river's highest elevation. Most river headwaters begin in hills or mountain, but as the river flows downstream, it gains more water from other streams, rivers, springs, added rainfall, and other water sources.
 
Rivers have always been important for travel, transportation, and trade routes. Most settlements were built along major rivers. Rivers are also important for farming because river valleys and plains provide fertile soils. Farmers in dry regions irrigate their cropland using water carried by irrigation ditches from nearby rivers. Rivers also are an important energy source. During the early industrial era, mills, shops, and factories were built near fast-flowing rivers where water could be used to power machines. Today steep rivers are still used to power hydroelectric plants and their water turbines.
 
American Rivers
http://www.amrivers.org/
This is the website of a national nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy natural rivers and the variety of life they sustain for people, fish, and wildlife.
Other River Environment Protection Organizations:
2) International Rivers Network http://www.irn.org/index.html
3) River Network http://www.rivernetwork.org/
 
Geography Action! Rivers 2001 from National Geographic Society
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geographyaction/rivers/
Here you can find find fun and interactive activities on river conservation plus some great information and ideas.
 
Rivers & Streams from Missouri Botanical Garden
http://mbgnet.mobot.org/fresh/rivers/index.htm
Learn about watersheds, how a stream becomes a river, and find out what happens when a river runs into an ocean.
Related Websites:
2) Locate Your Watershed from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
http://cfpub1.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm
3) What is a Watershed http://www.watersheds.org/blue/places/shed.htm
 
River Resource
http://riverresource.com/
This is a place where students of rivers can explore valuable river resources--a gateway to productive Internet exploration. At River Resource you won't find the facts, but rather the connections to facts, books, and people studying rivers. Here classrooms can share the information they are gathering about rivers. River Resource encourages the study of all aspects of rivers: their present, past, and future; their social and natural history; their ecology, folklore and legends; their music, literature, and art.
Related Website:
2) Rivers of Life from Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline
University http://cgee.hamline.edu/rivers/index.htm
 
After exploring several of the websites, complete one or more of the following activities:
 
Create A "Save the River" Poster. What are the threats threatening a river near you? Think in terms of water quality, pollution, erosion and siltation, river wildlife - - all aspects of the river's life. Make your poster a visual message. Post it where others can see it.
 
Complete A Rivers WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at one of these webQuest sites.
1) Big Muddy Dilemma from Missouri Research and Education Network http://emintsteachers.more.net/matzatc/pioneers/webquests/webquest1/introduction/
2) Grand Canyon Expedition http://www.nisd.net/marshww/webquests/GrandCanyon/
3) Missouri River http://schoolweb.missouri.edu/stockton.k12.mo.us/pate/moregwq/task.html
4) RiverQuest by D. Jennings http://tli.jefferson.k12.ky.us/edtd675/tliprojects/jennings/RiverQuest.htm
 
Complete An Online Watershed Quiz. You can start with the novice level at the Watershed Game from Minnesota IDEALS and Educational Web Adventures. You can continue on to the intermediate level and more.
 
Organize A River Cleanup. National River Cleanup Week traditionally occurs during the second or third week of May each year - - May 10 - 17, 2003. It was originally conceived in 1991 by America Outdoors® in response to a recognition that America's streams and rivers were in need of cleaning due to the careless disposal of trash and other debris. Find lots of ideas and assistance for setting up a community river cleanup at National River Cleanup Week.
 
Compare And Contrast Two River Systems. Research two different river systems and identify their similarities and differences. Summarize your findings in a multimedia presentation. Consider posting it online.
 
Take A Virtual River Tour. Using websites like these below, explore a river with a journey online. Create a travel journey that details your experiences and what you learn.
1) Explore the Colorado River from DesertUSA
http://www.desertusa.com/colorado/explorriver/du_explorrv.html
2) Trip Through the Grand Canyon http://www.azstarnet.com/grandcanyonriver/GCrt.html
3) Find Lost River Gorge from White Mountains Attractions
http://www.findlostriver.com/
4) Mackenzie River Trip - August 1993 http://www.acts.org/roland/mackenzie/
5) River Wild: Running the Selway from National Geographic Society
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/96/selway/index.html
6) Schuylkill River http://www.web-savvy.com/river/schuylkill/
7) Zambezi River http://www.on-the-matrix.com/africa/zambezi.htm
 
Create A River Mural. Pick a favorite and/or nearby river system. Why is important? Why was important fifty, one-hundred, two-hundred, five hundred, and a thousand years ago. Depict the history and importance of the river in your mural.
 
Write A River Poem. Express your feelings about a river in poetry. Consider sharing your finished poem with others. You can find information including sites to post your work at an eduScapes companion 42eXplore site: Poetry for Kids.
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
All Along a River (1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/28022/
This site has information on how rivers are formed and other physical aspects of rivers, as well as case studies of the Singapore River and the Rhine.
 
What Is In the River Torrens? . . . by T, Privopoulos, A. Tuza and T. Bright (Yuckbusters)
http://users.senet.com.au/~terry1/rivert_index.html
Read about the experiment that inspired a group of kids to help clean up a major river in Australia.
 
Hudson River
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/curriculum/socialstd/grade4/Hudson_River.html
This website teaches you about this river's history and efforts to clean it up.
 
Los Angeles River Tour
http://www.lalc.k12.ca.us/target/units/river/tour/index.html
What do you mean you didn't know there was a river in Los Angeles? Take this descriptive tour of an urban river, showing you samples of the sights, plants, animals, architecture, and history along the way.
 
Major Rivers of the World (Grade 7) from Spencer Butte Family School
http://schools.4j.lane.edu/spencerbutte/StudentProjects/Rivers/river.html
Learn about some of the major rivers of the world.
 
Mystic Ganga (1998 Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/22659/
The River Ganges, sacred to some, a river of myth and legend to others, has its headwaters in the Himalayas. It flows through the heart of India into the Bay of Bengal. Travel throughout India as you follow its course, and trace its tributaries.
 
Rivers of Life (1996 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/3336/page1.html
This project site gives procedures for determining the width and depth of a river plus gauging water pollution from phosphates.
 
Rivers Online (2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/C004240/
Rivers are the cradles of civilization and they play an important part in the life of those who live near it. This site covers the river parts, features and land forms, processes and information on the various rivers around the world, and more.
  
Rivers - Veins of the Earth (Achievement Award, 2001 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110238/
Many ancient civilizations have the rivers to thank for their survival, and today rivers still are an integral part of our lives. Discover the features that rivers create, look into their uses, and learn how geologists study them.
 
Streams of Life: Water in the American West (1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/27419/home.html
The goal of this site to provide a comprehensive look at the way water has affected both the people and the environment of the American West. It covers topics from where Los Angeles gets its water to who first explored the Colorado River.
 
Texas River Distance Learning Project
http://www.rice.edu/armadillo/Ftbend/rivers.html
This student project explores rivers around the United States.
 
Water from Snaith Primary School
http://home.freeuk.net/elloughton13/water.htm
This site has information and pictures about rivers.
 
Where the River Runs (2001 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0124721/
This project begins with looking at how water affects our daily lives and follows with researching the threats to water health and measuring water health of rivers.
 
More River Websites
American Heritage Rivers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov/rivers/services/
This initiative has three objectives: natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, and historic and cultural preservation.
 
Estuary: Where River Meets the Sea from Gulf of Maine Aquarium
http://octopus.gma.org/katahdin/estuary.html
Find out more about where rivers meet the sea and about the animals and plants that live in an estuary.
Related Website:
2) Estuary http://coastgis.marsci.uga.edu/summit/k12estuary.htm
 
Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) from National Park Service
http://www.ncrc.nps.gov/programs/rtca/nri/
This site lists more than 3,400 free-flowing river segments in the US that are believed to possess one or more "outstandingly remarkable" natural or cultural values judged to be of more than local or regional significance.
 
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System from National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/rivers/
With the passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on October 2, 1968 (Public Law 90-542), eight rivers were included as initial components in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (National System). Since then, 148 additional rivers or river segments have been designated by Congress and/or the Secretary of the Interior.
Related Website:
2) US Wild and Scenic Rivers from GORP
http://gorp.com/gorp/resource/us_river/main.htm
 
River Industry Bulletin Board (RIBB) from Palmetto Transportation Group
http://www.ribb.com/
This river industry organization promotes safe navigation on river systems. The site links you to other organizations and to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
 
River Revival from International Rivers Network
http://www.irn.org/revival/decom/
This is the website of an international campaign for river restoration and dam decommissioning (removal).
 
Rivers from Environment Canada
http://www.ec.gc.ca/water/en/nature/rivers/e_rivers.htm
Here you can find information about Canada's and the World's largest drainage basins.
 
Rivers of Europe by S. Goutam, T. Hernandez, J. Kuproski, and C. Hill
http://www.public.asu.edu/~goutam/gcu325/
The Danube, the Loire, the Rhine, and the Volga all have had a major influence in the development of industries and agriculture and the lifestyle of Europeans as a whole. The purpose of this project is to elaborate on the current environmental concerns and challenges that face these four great rivers of Europe, as well as the methods and plans that have implemented to improve the current situation.
 
Rivers Seen from Space
http://www.athenapub.com/rivers1.htm
This website includes numerous satellite pictures of the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, and other major river systems.
 
Soo Locks from Detroit District, United States Army Corps of Engineers
http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/index.cfm?chn_id=1802
Learn about these famous locks that form a passage for ships in the St. Marys River, the only water connection between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. Don't miss the animation that shows how locks work.
 
Stream & Corridor Restoration from U.S. Department of Agriculture
http://www.usda.gov/stream_restoration/
Download the handbook at this website.
 
Urban Rivers Awareness from the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
http://www.urbanrivers.org/
This site is designed to help people in cities recognize their own watershed and how it affects their water quality.
 
RiverSearch
http://www.riversearch.com/
Here is a white water rafting directory of rivers and raft trips.
 
Rivers to the West by L. Lawrence from Overland Trail
http://www.over-land.com/rivers.html
In the early 1800's fur trappers and mountain men ventured further and further west into the vast wilderness following the rivers upstream, seeking out the headwaters in search of beaver. Courageous emigrants and fortune seekers followed, and the Oregon Trail, The Platte River Road, The Santa Fe Trail, The Gila Trail, and others, following the rivers, became the great highways to the West.
 
Websites for Specific Rivers
Amazon River: (1) Amazon, (2) Amazon River from Extreme Science, (3) Discovering the Amazon: The World's Greatest River from The Exploratorium, (4) Journey Into Amazonia from PBS
Colorado River: (1) Colorado River by B. Ribokas, (2) Colorado River Foundation, (3) Lost in the Grand Canyon from PBS's American Experience, (4) Sharing Colorado River Water: History, Public Policy and the Colorado River Compact by J. Gelt
Columbia River: (1) Columbia River by B. Lang from Center for Columbia River History, (2) Columbia River, (3) Columbia River from National Geographic
Congo River: (1) Congo River, (2) Congo River (Section of The Living Africa, 1998 2nd Place Award ThinkQuest Internet Challenge), (3) Congo River Runs Through IT, (4) ECOS: The Congo River Page
Danube River: (1) Danube: Europe's River of Harmony and Discord from National Geographic, (2) Along the river Danube, (3) Danube River, (4) Danube River
Ganges River: (1) About the Ganges River, (2) Ganges River by G. Potter and G. DeKeyser, (3) Ganges River by C. Daener, (4) Ganges River India (Photo Gallery), (5) River Ganga (Ganges), (6) River Ganges from TempleNet
Hudson River: (1) Hudson River, (2) Hudson's Course
Illinois River: (1) RiverWeb: Harvesting the River
Kennebec River: (1) Flowing Past: Maine's Kennebec and Dead Rivers from Maine PBS
Loire River: (1) Loire River, (2) Loire (river), (3) River Loire from Day to Day
Missouri River: (1) Missouri River InfoLink from U.S. Geological Survey, (2) Coalition to Protect the Missouri River, (3) Missouri River, (4) Missouri River Heritage Corridor
Rhine River: (1) Rhine River, (2) Cleaning Up the River Rhine (Section of All Along a River, 1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge), (3) Miracle of the Rhine, (4) Rhine River
Volga River: (1) Volga River, (2) Volga from Rivers of Life, (3) Volga River
Yangtze River: (1) Great Wall Across the Yangtze from PBS, (2) Chang Jiang (Section of China, an Inner Realm, 1998 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge), (3) Yangtze River, (4) Yangtze River (Photo Gallery)
Zambezi River: (1) Zambezi River, (2) Safari in Zimbadwe: Along the Zambezi River, (3) Zambezi Central Africa's River of Life, (4) Zambezi Society
  
Water Quality Information
Eutrophication from United States Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov/emfjulte/tpmcmaia/html/eutroph.html
Eutrophication is a condition in an aquatic ecosystem where high nutrient concentrations stimulate blooms of algae (e.g., phytoplankton).
 
Fecal Coliform Bacteria: Water Quality Information from Kentucky Water Watch
http://www.state.ky.us/nrepc/water/wcpfcol.htm
The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in aquatic environments indicates that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of man or other animals.
Related Website:
2) Fecal Indicator Bacteria and Sanitary Water Quality
http://wwwdmilns.er.usgs.gov/h2oqual/BactHOWeb.html
 
Turbidity
http://h2osparc.wq.ncsu.edu/info/turbid.html
Turbidity is a unit of measurement quantifying the degree to which light traveling through a water column is scattered by the suspended organic (including algae) and inorganic particles. The scattering of light increases with a greater suspended load.
 
Water Science from United States Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/
This government agency sets the baseline for clean water.
Related Website:
2) Water Science for Schools form U.S. Geological Survey http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/index.html
 
Water Quality Parameters from Kentucky Water Watch
http://www.state.ky.us/nrepc/water/wcparint.htm
Here are a number of important parameters you can check to give you more insight into the condition of your stream. It is important to remember that chemical measurements are only part of the overall water quality picture. Visual surveys, biological surveys, and historical research are just as important in determining stream conditions.
 
Water Quality Factors from Marquette High School River Studies
http://www.muhs.edu/pages/teacherpages/science/riverstudies/wqfactors.html
This page contains a brief description and the ecological impact of the nine water quality factors: dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, pH, biological oxygen demand, temperature, nutrients (phosphates and nitrates), turbidity and total solids.
Related Website:
2) Important Water Quality Factors http://www.hach.com/h2ou/h2wtrqual.htm
3) Water Quality Studies http://imc.lisd.k12.mi.us/water.html
 
Websites For Teachers
Adopt-a-Watershed
http://www.adopt-a-watershed.org/
This site has developed a K-12 curriculum for exploring watersheds.
 
Cooper River Study (Grades 6-9) by G. Johnson
http://www.chevron.com/community/edawards/pdf/CooperRiver.pdf
This guide outlines a project in which student's examined the ecological aspects and water quality of a regional river.
Related Website:
2) W.A.T.E.R. Study http://www.users.voicenet.com/~chsb/pages/wwater.html
 
Investigating Rivers from Educate the Children
http://www.educate.org.uk/teacher_zone/classroom/geography/unit14.htm
In this unit, children learn about rivers and the effects they have on the landscape. The unit focuses on the components of the water cycle, how rivers erode, and the characteristics of a river system.
 
Questions About Rivers
http://www.saveourlake.org/lessons/chpt4/act3.htm
Lesson focusing on ways to promote higher level thinking related to rivers.
 
River Boxes (Grades 1-3) from National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/badl/teacher/riverboxes.htm
This activity will help students understand the erosion process and its part in the formation of rivers and streams.
 
Rivers Online
http://rol.freenet.columbus.oh.us/index.html
This site shares information and resources of school projects relating to the study of rivers.
 
Rivers Project from B. Williams, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
http://www.siue.edu/OSME/river/
With scientific literacy as the ultimate goal, students collect and analyze water samples from various test sites. Here you can join this North American project.
Related Websites:
2) Pre Field Trip to Test Water Quality http://www.nrm.qld.gov.au/education/modules/primary/water_cycles_catchments/prefieldtr
iptestwater.html
3) Materials and Supplies to Use in the Field
http://www.wavcc.org/wvc/cadre/WaterQuality/elementary_supplies_and_material.htm
 
Watersheds in the Classroom from Bryant Watershed Project, Inc
http://www.watersheds.org/teacher/water.htm
This site contains lesson plans, activities, and links to other resources.
 
river
downstream
Mississippi River
erosion
water cycle
watershed
upstream
current
floodplain
river mouth
white water
rapids
"reading the river"
watershed boundary
wetland
meanders
river source
raft
tributary
bridge
creek
riparian zone
Mark Twain
waterfall
runoff
drainage basin
wildlife
water
freshwater fish
canoe
snow
transportation
delta
flood plain
drainage divide
estuary
levee
water pollution
continental watershed
lock
dam
runoff
stream
endangered rivers
eutrophication
silt
algae
river system
 
  
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 10/02.