Christ The King RC Primary School

Rivers and the Water Cycle:

How does the water go round and round?

This unit focuses on rivers, providing excellent opportunities for fieldwork and other practical activities; such as creating landscapes to see where water on the land infiltrates and flows. It also introduces the water cycle and, as the key concept is that water flows downhill, looks at mountains, the source of many rivers. It also looks at how people interact with rivers as well as their geographical features. 


This unit offers the opportunity for children to visit a stream or shallow river; one which provides a safe environment for making observations and taking measurements. They will make observational drawings, labelling parts of the river/stream and its environment. Children will also measure the flow of the river/stream and use a compass to read its direction. 


I understand what infiltration means now - Archie

I'm going to do more research on rivers because I enjoy learning about them - Mitchell

When water infiltrates through the soil, it helps the plants and trees grow - Italia


As part of learning about the water-cycle, we set up an experiment to see what happens to precipitation when it falls to the ground. We made and tested four different ground surfaces: sand to represent the desert, soil to represent the woods and green land, aggregate (grit) to represent the pavements and playground and pebbles to represent the mountains. We used a watering can to create ‘rain’ and used a slope so that we could see where the rain travelled. We observed water infiltrate and flow. Then we discussed how the water would continue from this point to go round and round as part of the water cycle.

Once we had discovered that water always runs downhill through infiltration or flow, we continued to follow the water-cycle to the River Irk in Chadderton Hall Park. We had the most amazing time putting on our wellington boots and measuring the depth of the river. We then identified and named parts of the river such as the river bed, bank, meander, erosion, deposit, etc. We looked again how the water ran downhill and measured the direction using a compass. Finally, we sketched and labelled the river before heading back to the classroom to investigate our findings further.



The river is running downhill so the ocean or sea must be that way - Eden

The river is running between South and West so South-West - Mikey

The riverbed is measuring different depths because of the pebbles and small rocks - Scarlett

I'm stood on the river bank - Ronson


How can I support learning at home?

You can reinforce and support pupils' learning through lots of ways:

  • Use maps, atlases, globes, Digimaps and/or a search engine to name and locate the UK’s most significant river and mountain environments
  • Encourage children to explain the water cycle in appropriate geographical language and to describe (some of) the processes associated with rivers and mountains
  • Answer the unit’s question: How does water go round and round?
  • Find out more about the major rivers and mountains in the UK and elsewhere in the world, as well as their local rivers (and mountains). They might enjoy researching Snowdon, Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis (the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland).
  • Children might also be fascinated to discover the various attempts to find the source of a river, and to navigate the world’s major rivers, especially the Niger, Amazon, Yangtze and the Nile. They can also find out about the attempts to climb the world’s highest mountain – Mount Everest – with the first successful ascent being by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. They might also be amazed to discover that the rocks at the summit of Mount Everest contain marine fossils, which shows that they were formed under the sea!

Culcheth Lane, Manchester, Lancashire M40 1LU

0161 681 2779
For telephone enquiries please ask for Mrs Potter.
At point of contact, enquires and queries will be dealt with by Mrs. Potter.
For a paper copy of any information on this website, please contact the school office.
SEN enquiries will be passed on to the school SENDCo Mrs Holroyd.