Rivers are an important part of our ecosystem as a source of water, food, transportation, defense, energy, and last, but certainly not least, recreation. Learn more at this week’s selection of sites.
The Fact Monster almanac lists the fifty-five biggest rivers in the world, with links to additional articles about most of them. The Nile (the longest river in the world) tops the list with a length of 4,180 miles, and the Tigris is the shortest river on the list, with a length of 1,180 miles. A separate Rivers of the United States page annotates rivers 350 miles or longer, but is listed alphabetically, not by length.
"From outer-space, the earth looks like it is covered with veins and arteries, similar to our bodies. The earth's arteries, however, are really a vast web of rivers and streams that channel water across the planet, from mountains to oceans." This excellent lesson for middle and high-school students covers watersheds, surface runoff, water pollution, how streams become rivers, river zones, river creatures (such as the Arrau River turtle) and hydroelectric power (dams).
"Rivers are an essential part of our world. Since the beginning of time, people have traveled on them and built cities along them. Rivers have provided food as well as a source of commerce and entertainment for centuries." This multimedia exploration for third through fifth grade students, introduces river basics, describes their importance, and includes a section on river explorers such as Henry Hudson, and Lewis and Clark. There is a Teacher's Guide that outlines classroom activities, and a River Resource page with additional site recommendations.
This informative site for high-school students is part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science for Schools project. It includes a water science glossary, hyperlinks to related pages, and a chart showing the comparative lengths of the world's major rivers. "A river is nothing more than surface water finding its way over land from a higher altitude to a lower altitude, all due to gravity. When rain falls on the land, it either seeps into the ground or becomes runoff, which flows downhill into rivers and lakes, on its journey towards the seas."
Otter B. Goode explains the history of the Wilderness Act, the Clean Water Act, and most specifically the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System, which was created by Congress in 1958 to protect 165 rivers and their tributaries. These protected American rivers total about 11,409 miles. "Not every state has a wild & scenic river Â— 39 states and Puerto Rico have rivers in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. Does your state have a wild & scenic river? Do you live near it?" Find out by following Otter B. Goode through this kids site.
Download a Printable Internet Resource Handout
By Barbara J. Feldman July 6,2010
The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!