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Mapping Famous Rivers

Subject: Geography, Language Arts
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12


Brief Description

Students create maps showing the locations of ten famous rivers in the world and write facts about the rivers under their maps.



  • define the word river
  • learn some general facts about rivers
  • learn about ten famous rivers
  • locate ten famous rivers on a map or a globe
  • draw ten famous rivers on outline maps
  • create charts with a few facts about ten famous rivers.


chart, famous, map, river, world

Materials Needed


  • teacher-selected books or online sources about rivers
  • world map or globe
  • outline maps of the countries for ten famous rivers
  • construction paper
  • writing paper
  • pens
  • markers or crayons
  • computer(s) with Internet access, a word processing program, or PowerPoint (optional)
  • ten index cards with the name of a famous river written on each one.
  • copies of outline maps of the countries of the rivers on each index card from teacher-selected or online sources (one per group)

    Lesson Plan

    Before the lesson: Write the names of ten famous rivers on index cards. Make copies of outline maps of the countries in which those rivers flow. Two suggested outline map sources: Blank & Outline Maps and Outline Maps Home Page


    • Discuss the meaning of the word river. Introduce some general facts about rivers from teacher-selected sources or from any of these suggested sites:
    • Explain that the Nile River is the longest river in the world. Show students the location of the Nile River on a globe or world map. Share some general information about the Nile River from Nile River.
    • Organize students into small groups of two or three. Distribute one index card and construction paper to each group.
    • Have each group read the word on the card. Tell students that each card contains the name of a famous river.
    • Tell students that they must work in their groups to locate on a map the rivers named on their cards, draw the rivers on outline maps, and create charts of facts about the rivers.
    • Have students use teacher-selected print sources and/or online sources. If Internet access is not available to everyone, print information from Web sites. You may want to begin your search with these suggested Web sites:
    • Have students share their completed maps and charts with the class.


      • Idea 1: Have students complete the lesson as PowerPoint presentations.
      • Idea 2: Have older students conduct all the research needed to complete the lesson.


      Evaluate students' completed maps and charts and their abilities to work together in small groups.

      Lesson Plan Source

      Education World

      Submitted By

      Lois Lewis

      National Standards

      Social Sciences:

      Language Arts:


      Originally Published 06/11/2001
      Links last updated 11/19/2005