Have you ever looked at a riverbed from an airplane, an ariel photo, or a map? Rivers are complex places that curve, stop, shift directions and cut themselves off all based on the flow of water and the type of land the water passes through. Even though rivers develop their shape over thousands of years, you can explore how rivers form in just a short time in your own backyard.
Materials: a piece of wood (you can use a cookie sheet, or a piece of plastic over something hard, but a simple board works best), sand, water, something to pour with, rocks and sticks (optional).
Prepare this discovery by laying out your board and placing a layer of sand over the surface. Pat the sand down. Put the board on a gentle angle. Pose the questions: "How does a river form?" "Can you make a river?" Let them discover.
As a follow up to this activity, find rivers on maps and look at their shape and come up with a list of things you notice and wonder.
This was a fabulous discovery. Sure, we've dug and played with water in the sand box, at the beach, and and in the yard, but doing the activity with the focus on rivers made a few aha moments. They watched the water form rivers, than formed some rivers and dams of their own. We talked briefly about why the water only flows downhill, but left it at that. The only thing I wished we changed was having an even bigger board, or a board for each kid.
I shared at The Sunday Showcase, Friday Nature Table, The Imagination Tree, Seasons of Joy, Look What We Did, Hip Homeschool Hop, All Year Blog Carnival
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