Several Texas State Parks are closed due to Tropical Storm Harvey. See state park alerts.

Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover-Rivers Rock

The physical properties of rivers and river flow provide a perfect backdrop for discussing earth science topics such as geography, geology, erosion, buoyancy, sediment and life science topics of systems and adaptations.

Language Arts:
4.2 A,B:  Reading/Vocabulary development

Social Studies:
4.1 B: History. Native American groups: ways of life
4.6 A,B  Geography. Use geographic tools: maps
4.8 A,B,C,D:  Geography. Patterns of settlement and geographic factors

4.3 C:  Scientific investigation and reasoning: models
4.7 A,B,C: Earth and space. Natural resources and changes

4.3 A: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. Addition and subtraction

Discussion Questions

  • How is a river like a super highway?
  • In the illustration of a river's world, can you trace the start and end of the river?  What are the four major parts? (headwaters, tributaries, floodplains, estuary)
  • Name an action that happens at each major part of the river. (headwaters: rain and springs help start the river; tributaries: rain, streams etc flow into the river making it bigger; floodplains: flood waters from the river add soil and nutrients to the land; estuary: the river brings freshwater and nutrients to the saltwater forming the estuary and an important area for people, fish and wildlife.)
  • Look at the picture of the river. Find a bird, reptile, a crustacean, and a fish. Challenge question: find a mammal in the picture. (people)
  • Name at least five ways people depend on rivers. 
  • What are ways people can take care of rivers?

Answers for Spike's Activity Page: Math: 1) 1/5   2) 1,250  3) 1,331  Social Studies: Sabine. Colorado. Trinity.


Map It!

Look at a map of major rivers in Texas. Are you near a major river? Which one?
Compare maps of precipitation, vegetation and river basins. What do you observe? What conclusions can you make about the relationship of rain, rivers and vegetation?
Where does your drinking water come from? Enter your zip code in the Water IQ web site to find out.
Create your own map. What are the local sources of water for our plants, animals and people?

Build a watershed.

Inside a shoebox or pan, use clay to create a watershed. Make several ridges and contours as a landscape. You may want to add man-made features such as homes or roads. Gently pour water over the landscape to identify watersheds. You can expand this into a lesson about non-point source pollution by using colored water starting at certain points and seeing where the polluted water flows.

Water Words

Build vocabulary by drawing, taking or finding pictures representing this month's vocabulary words. You could also use the magazine illustration or other illustrations we've provided to cover up key words and quiz students' knowledge. For you or advanced students doing research, we also have an extensive river glossary online.

Tortuga Tex

Explore Tortuga Tex online. The comics-style travels of the map turtle illustrate parts of rivers, aquatic habitats and species. One of TPWD's aquatic biologists in our River Studies program, stationed in San Marcos, created these drawings as well as the detailed illustrations on the background for teachers page.

Recommended Project WILD Activities

This month is full of great hands-on activities from Project WILD. See the list of recommended activities.