As a High School Geography or Earth Sciences teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to teach about river systems, the important aspects of some of the major river systems and how they may be affected by climate change.
This lesson plan can be used to teach about one or more river systems around the world; and their features that determine their significance for the region they flow through. The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and flows through 11 countries in North East Africa. This lesson plan includes resources to teach about its role in providing food and water security and in influencing the economies of these countries. This lesson plan also discusses the Nile as an example of a major river system affected by climate change.
Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Geography or Earth Sciences.
Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:
- What are river systems? Describe their fluvial processes.
- What is the socio-economic importance of a major river system? Give examples.
- Comment on the significance of the river Nile for Egypt. How is it affected by climate change?
- How are the major river systems of the world being affected by climate change?
About Lesson Plan
|Grade Level||High school|
|Discipline||Geography, Earth Sciences|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||River Systems, Fluvial Processes, Drainage Basin
Floodplains, River Deltas, Hydrologic Cycle
Evapotranspiration, River Nile
|Climate Topic||Climate and the Hydrosphere
Climate and the Lithosphere
|Two readings to introduce the different terms associated with river systems and their fluvial processes.|
|A digital repository of information about major river systems of the world including the River Nile.|
|Video and Associated Reading (~5-7 min)||A video and associated reading that describes the effect of climate change on the river Nile.|
Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
Step 1: Topic introduction and discussion
Reading 1 : River Systems
Reading 2 : Fluvial Processes
- Use the reading, ‘River Systems’ by Canadian Geographic Education to introduce your students to the basic terminology associated with a river system such as river source, tributary, floodplain, meander, upstream, wetlands, and watershed boundary. This document can also be downloaded.
- Further, use the reading, ‘Fluvial Processes’ by Central Connecticut State University to describe the processes associated with the flowing nature of the river.
- Use the text to describe what the drainage basin of a river system is, and what its characteristics are.
- Explain the processes associated with river erosion and the transportation and deposition of eroded material.
- Describe the flow channel characteristics and briefly discuss strategies for river management.
- Finally use the set of review questions given in text to enable further discussion and to assess student understanding of the topic.
Step 2: Develop the topic further by exploring the features of some major river systems of the world
(Go to the Repository Rivers and River Systems)
- Use the webpage, ‘Rivers and River Systems’ by Encyclopedia Britannica to teach your students about some major river systems of the world.
- Choose a river system and navigate to different sections in the contents to teach about topics such as physiography, climate and hydrology, plant and animal life, people, economy, study and exploration.
- Encourage a discussion on what factors, for example climatic factors, could affect the normal functioning of the river system and what their implications could be.
- You may choose to specifically explore various aspects of the river Nile for better understanding of the effects of climate change on it, as discussed in the next teaching tool.
Step 3: Discuss the impact of climate change on the river Nile
(Go to the Video Nile faces greater variability )
- Use the video and associated news report, ‘Nile faces greater variability’ by David L. Chandler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology News Office to explain the impact of climate change on the river Nile, one of the major river systems of the world.
- This news piece reports on a study published by Prof Elfatih Eltahir and Mohamed Siam in Nature Climate Change.
- Use the tool to explain how the Nile basin now faces unpredictable drought or flood conditions due to a warming climate and that the variability in precipitation and evapotranspiration are influenced by the Pacific Ocean El Nino/ La Nina phenomenon.
- Further, use this report to discuss the future projections, mentioned in the study, of how such climatic factors could further increase the flow variation in the Nile.