Life by the river

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By Jeanne Broadbent

Discuss with the children the ways in which humans and rivers interact

Unlike canals, rivers are natural features in the landscape. This does not mean, however, that they have not been changed by human action. In the UK in the 21st century, there are few rivers that have been unaffected by human intervention – for instance, bridging, straightening or water extraction. This section of the topic aims to introduce children to ways in which humans and rivers have interacted over time. They will learn that settlements often have rivers at their core, that rivers can be used in different ways and that, as well as offering benefits to human communities, they can also pose a threat. Key discussion points will include the pros and cons of living by a river and ways in which a river can be used for different kinds of human activity – for power, for leisure or for waste disposal.

Ages 7-9

Human interaction

Learning objective: to learn that early settlements were often located on rivers and that human activities have affected rivers in different ways.

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