World Rivers Day 26th September 2021

This list highlights a number of resources that could be used for by different subject areas for different age groups on World Rivers Day.  The theme of rivers covers a wide range of STEM topics from building bridges, harnessing their energy to generate electricity, to their importance in terms of the provision of fresh water to humans and to wildlife.

For pupils aged 5 to 11 there is the 'River Crossing' activity which asks pupils to solve a problem using logic and a hands on engineering challenge to build a bridge from spaghetti.  

There is another hands on engineering activity for 11 to 14 year olds which introduces the use and importance of 'Rolling bridges'.  

From an environmental point of view there are a number of activities such as 'Where have the fish gone?' for 11 to 14 year olds or activity 801 in the 'Science and Technology in Society 8' resource for 14 to 16 year olds, which could be linked to the video of the 'Fisheries technical officer' talking about his job. 

For 14 to 16 year olds there is the 'Model boat' activity which involves a mathematical calculation using the speed of a boat and the speed of the river to determine where the boat will arrive on the opposite bank.

Also suitable for this age group and older students is the Catalyst article 'Water Power: the Micro-Hydro revolution' looking at how electricity can be generated on a small scale by rivers.

The last three resources in the list focus on the river Thames and offer a series of lessons on various aspects of the river: Bridging the river, Taming the river, and using the context of the river to look at various physics topics such as water pressure and simple machines such as pulleys and levers.




River crossing activity

In this activity SEND pupils will learn to use logical reasoning to solve a problem and can be adapted using the PowerPoint to develop understanding of algorithms, decomposition and debugging. The activity gives pupils the opportunity to solve the traditional problem of a farmer trying to get a chicken, fox and...

Spaghetti bridges

This activity could be used in Key Stage 2 as a stand-alone activity, as a focused task to develop skills in the use of the glue gun, or as part of a structures project investigating bridges.

In this activity, students develop both their skills in using a glue gun and demonstrate their understanding of how...

Rolling bridges

This resource is based on Thomas Heatherwick’s rolling bridge at Paddington Basin in London. Rolling bridges are also used in areas after natural disasters to provide temporary crossings. There are exercises involving the mathematical analysis of the design and some basic construction of models of the bridge. The...

Where Have the Fish Gone?

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has created teaching activities based on climate change. Students discover how an invasive species (water hyacinth) has caused eutrophication and destroyed fish stocks. Students are given a series of cards containing information. Working in small groups, they are...


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