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Super Science @ Your Library
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Wet & Wild
Rivers

Objective:

Children will learn about rivers and river pollution through stories, informational text and hands-on activities.
Grade Level: 3-5

 

Books:

LaMarche, Jim
The Raft
Reluctant Nicky spends a wonderful summer with Grandma who introduces him to the joy of rafting down the river near her home and watching the animals along the banks.
 
Anderson, William
River Boy: the Story of Mark Twain
Tells the story of a young boy named Sam Clemens his life along the Mississippi River, and how he grew up to become the famous Mark Twain.
 
Castaldo, Nancy F.
River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers
Thirty games, activities, and experiments provide an introduction to learning about how rivers are formed, the water cycle, and the animals and habitats that exist along rivers.
 
Rohmer, Harriet
Heroes of the Environment
This inspiring book presents the true stories of 12 people, most of them teenagers or younger adults, from across North America who have done great things for the environment. Heroes include a teenage girl who figured out how to remove an industrial pollutant from the Ohio River, a Mexican superstar wrestler who works to protect turtles and whales, and a teenage boy from Rhode Island who helped his community and his state develop effective e-waste recycling programs. Plenty of photographs and illustrations bring each compelling story vividly to life.
 
Cherry, Lynne
A River Ran Wild
An environmental history of the Nashua River in New England, from its discovery by Indians through the polluting years of the Industrial Revolution to the ambitious clean-up that revitalized it.
 
 

Activities:

River Pollutants

Materials: 11x17 paper, Markers, images of businesses and their descriptions
Break up students into small groups of 4 or 5. Give each group a sheet of 11x17 paper. Have them draw a picture of a river. Assign each group an operation such as a Farm, Factory, Shopping Center or Oil Company. Give each student a description of their company. Have them add the picture of their company to their river scene.

Ask students to record what their company's impact might be on the river. Have them present their predictions and drawing to the class. Tape all the groups drawings together to form one long river. Read aloud descriptions of the types of pollutants created by each business. See how they match the student's predictions. Ask students to think of things that could be done to reduce the pollution caused by their business.

Solve the Spill

(page 98-99 of River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers by Nancy F. Castaldo)

Materials: Dish Pan, Cooking Oil, Straws, Sand, Paper Towels
This activity will have children experiment with a mini oil spill. They will be using different materials to try and clean up oil from the water in a dish pan. Have children predict which method will work best and then explore to see what works. The passage on page 98 "Oil Spill Newsflash!" describes an oil spill in the Delaware River and the actions taken to clean up the oil.

 

Vocabulary:

Condensation: Water droplets formed when water vapor rises and cools.

Delta: A deposit of sand and soil formed at the mouth of some rivers.

Erosion: Worn away by water, wind or other means.

Estuary: Where the river meets the ocean.

Evaporation: Water turns into vapor and rises in the air.

Headwaters: The starting place or source of a river.

Hydroelectricity: Producing electricity by water power.

Precipitation: Rain, sleet, snow or hail.

River: A large stream of water that flows in a bed or channel and empties into another body of water.

Sediment: The minerals, leaves and other items that flow into a river and settle on the bottom.

Turbine: A device for converting the flow of water or other matter into mechanical motion that produces electricity.

Watershed: The area of land where all the water that drains off it or under it goes into the river.

 

Additional Resources: