Investigating the River Habitat KS2

This programme will help pupils develop a more scientific view of the world around them through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas on the relationships between living things and their environments. Pupils will use scientific enquiry skills, equipment and identification sheets to investigate and name living organisms from the local environment. Pupils will gain understanding of what makes a riverside a habitat and how living things survive in them.

Session 1

Pupils will develop an understanding of what the Thames is like today and knowledge of the geography of the river. They will use the local environment to gain experience in identifying and observing birds, and recognising how they have adapted to their environment. On the foreshore pupils will examine rocks and soil and find evidence of erosion, transportation and deposition. River dipping provides pupils with a chance to discover first-hand what lives in the river by collecting, identifying and observing fish and invertebrates. Pupils will have the opportunity to identify and compare animals with and without skeletons to find out how these organisms have adapted to their environment. Pupils will also have the chance to identify and describe the conditions of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, including microhabitats. Pupils will determine whether or not the river is a healthy habitat using a range of scientific equipment to record indicator species, pollution and pH levels.

Session 2

In the classroom pupils will use the River of Life floor game to create a model of a river habitat and learn about the adaptations, evolution, food chains and life cycles of river wildlife. At science stations pupils will carry out their own investigations to make fair and comparable tests on Thames wildlife by using live specimens, visual aids, our aquarium and scientific equipment. Concluding with the ‘Battle of the Beaks’ game, which allows pupils to develop an understanding of how organisms have adapted to their environment and how adaptations link to evolution.




Full day programme – 4 hours plus half an hour for lunch. Half days available on request.

Learning Objective

Please send us your learning objectives in advance of your trip so we can tailor the programme to your requirements.

Please help us preserve London’s heritage by not taking artefacts from the foreshore

Please read our artefact policy