Optional Module 8: Local Area Study

Parts of a River

Rivers, streams and creeks, are described as, a flow of freshwater through a natural channel within the land.   Rivers are made up of some easily recognisable parts, which are shown in Figure 1:

  • River bed: The bottom surface of the river, which the water flows on top.
  • Source: Where the river starts from, usually a lake, glacier, snowfield or spring.
  • Banks: The edge or sides of the river that the water flows within.  The terms right and left bank are determined by which side of the river the bank is one when facing downstream.
  • Course: The path of the river.
  • Channel: Can mean two things- either the river bed or the line deepest water through the river.

Figure 1: Parts of a river
(Source: Robert Chambers [image modified])

Students learn about the extent of a river catchment and coastal zone