Exploring the River Thames and Amazon river

Lesson overview

In this lesson students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the River Thames and the Amazon River by identifying human and physical features and comparing similarities and differences between the two rivers.

Learning outcomes
  • Recognise a river in Europe and South America giving well-reasoned answers, using geographical vocabulary
  • Understand and identify human and physical features
  • Be able to discuss and compare the human and physical similarities / differences of rivers
  • Compare and contrast human and physical features

Expedition Prep Checklist

Download the Google Expeditions App on all devices and select the expeditions Sites Along the Thames River and Amazon.

Explore the expedition, review descriptions and questions and identify points of interest.

Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (10 mins)
    Check prior knowledge by asking students what we call either side of the river? What do they notice located there? How could they describe the water? How many physical / human features can they see? Who might use it and what for?
  2. Expedition (20 mins)
    Lead students through each expedition in turn. Start with the Thames and then the Amazon. Use the scene descriptions to guide the class and highlight points of interest.
  3. Activity one (15 mins)
    Students work in groups of three and rotate their roles – scribe, describer and vocab leader. Each student should see the scenes. Each team has two whiteboards, one for the Thames and one for the Amazon. Each whiteboard is divided in two – human / physical. Students record what they see for each as they explore. Draw their attention to key vocabulary and instruct students to rephrase their answers to include these. This is the role of the vocab leader in each group whose job is to keep focus on the vocabulary.
  4. Activity two (15 mins)
    Lead a class discussion around which they would rather visit. Encourage students to state what is different about each river. Students to plot each river on a map. Write a paragraph about what would be different if the Amazon was in Europe and the Thames was in South America and explain why.
  5. Extension
    Students write a comparative information text about the two rivers for a travel brochure. Focus should be on geographical vocabulary and the link phrases and conjunctions.
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