Rivers and Streams

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11456

Have you ever seen a river? How about a pond? Is there a difference, even though both are filled with water? What about streams? Learn the differences and make your own stream (outside, of course!).


Life Science, World

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Have you ever seen a river? If so, what do you notice about the water in rivers and streams? Besides the fact that it's wet?

Rivers and streams are flowing bodies of water.

  • What does it mean to flow?

Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

Flowing water is water that moves in one direction. Think about a time you saw a river, or maybe even swam in a river.

  • How did the water feel?
  • What did the water look like?

Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

You may have noticed that if you touched the water of a river, you could feels its movement. You might have noticed the current of the river. A current is another way to describe the movement of water. You may have noticed the ripples and waves created by the flowing water in a river or stream.

WatchFlowing River 1080p HD Without Music by HikeArt (below) to see how rivers and streams move. Listen to the sounds the river makes. What do you hear? Watch the video for one minute:

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Rivers and streams come from many different sources. Read the list below to see where rivers and streams originate:

  • lakes
  • ponds
  • snowmelt
  • heavy rainfall
  • springs

Rivers and streams are not permanent. This means they can dry up into the ground, be cut off by dams, or be drained by humans.

dry river bed

  • Do you know what makes rivers and streams different?

Take a look at the pictures below. The picture on the left is a stream, and the picture on the right is a river. Think about the physical differences you see. Share your answer with your parent or teacher:

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A river and stream both have some features in common. A similarity between rivers and streams is that they both are moving bodies of water. You may have noticed the currents and ripples in the pictures above. 

  • What did you notice about the size of rivers and streams?

You may have noticed that a stream is much smaller than a river. A stream is very similar to a river, but streams are smaller and more shallow than (not as deep as) rivers. Rivers are larger and deeper than streams. A great way to remember streams is by looking at the word "stream." Stream starts with "s" and so does the word "small." Streams are small.

The picture below shows a stream:


Before moving on to the next section, tell your parent or teacher something that rivers and streams have in common, and something that makes them different.

When you are finished discussing the similarities and differences between rivers and streams, move on to the next section to learn more about rivers and streams.

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