Reconnecting with the river
Tunnelworks is a series of teaching and learning resources linking mathematics and science to the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, a major new sewer that will help protect the River Thames from increasing pollution. Background to the project is given in the introductory video.
Lesson one is a suggested hour long activity that allows students to understand that the Thames river is a massive ecosystem. They use resource sorting cards to construct their own food webs and identify risks to the ecosystem of toxic pollution. There are opportunities to extend via the addition of trophic levels to the web and the application of interdependence and competition to it. General functions of a river are explored using the Thames as the context and how human activity has impacted on the river through the years. Finally the benefits to London of the construction of the tunnel are identified with students finding out about other improvements to the area to offset the disruption that companies are obliged to do. Lesson two is a shorter 20 minute activity where students are introduced to ecosystems using a pond as an example from which they apply that knowledge to construct their own food web using organisms found in and around the Thames showing predator prey relationships. The student worksheets and teacher notes are to be used in conjunction with the presentations for each lesson.