Lessons about the Nile River can be a lead-in to studies about ancient Egypt, the region's geography, climate and the 11 countries the Nile serves. Let students choose their own project from a list of options that will get them invested in learning about the world's longest river.
Geography and Climate
Ask students to give a weather report as if they were a TV news reporter. They can describe Egypt's desert geography and the climate surrounding some parts of the Nile. Because the river is so long -- more than 4,200 miles -- it covers several climates, and students can address a few of them. They might tell their classmates that, although the Nile is most often associated with Egypt, it also winds through Ethiopia, Zaire, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan. They can discuss how the Nile floods nearby land in the spring, leaving black sediment behind. Students can also draw pictures or maps of the river to use as backdrops during their TV-style report.
History of the Nile
Students who are interested in the Nile's history can make a timeline on a large poster board and label it with significant dates and facts. They might describe how the ancient Egyptians named the river "Ar," meaning black, because of the black sediment that its spring floods leave behind. They can also write or give a report on the ways ancient Egyptians used the Nile, such as for transportation, irrigation and drinking water and that major cities, such as Cairo, are located near the Nile.
Flora and Fauna
Students who love animals or science might be interested in identifying and drawing pictures of the various plant and animal species found in and along the banks of the Nile. The most widely known animal, the Nile Crocodile, lives in and around the river and female crocodiles lay up to 60 eggs at once along the banks of the river. When the eggs hatch, the baby crocodiles enter the river en masse, where they join their mothers until they reach maturity. The river's rich soil is very fertile, offering an ideal place for native plant species to grow. Students can write or give a report on their findings.
The Length of the Nile
At more than 4,200 miles long, the Nile is the longest river in the world. Ask students to compare it to the second longest river, the Amazon, and the longest river in the United States, the Mississippi. They can create scaled models to show the differences using everyday objects, such as yarn, to represent each river. Math whizzes might also enjoy this project as they can convert the rivers' lengths to a small-scale display. Students also can research the 10 longest rivers in the world and make a list comparing their lengths.
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