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Upper KS2: River Rescue

In Upper Key Stage Two their adventure took them on a journey of discovery. They were tasked by David Attenborough to assist him in raising awareness of river pollution as he realised that just concentrating on the world’s oceans would not solve the problem. Upon receiving the letter, the children went straight to work.


At one point in the adventure the children in Willow class were introduced to a bottle that was floating in the Irish Sea. They wondered how it might have got there if it travelled down a river. They first completed a burn 2 learn where the children had to match the feature of a river to its picture and meaning.


Using this information, the children went outside and found natural materials that they could use to make a model of a river: sticks, stones and leaves. They made models showing the features of a river and used the knowledge they gained in the burn 2 learn to add labels to the river.

The children then used all they had learnt (and a song they learnt called ‘The River Song’) to write non-chronological reports about the journey of a river, focusing on using adverbials of time and place.


In Rowan class, the children also completed non-chronological reports based on the journey of a river. They included modal verbs and first completed an activity to plan some of these.

In Willow class, they took a small detour on their journey to explore story writing (all based around a river). They used the book ‘Journey’ by Aaron Becker, which is a picture book with no words. They first explored the first few pages of the book, so these could act as a basis for their own story. With a partner, they came up their own versions of what they interpreted the illustrations as, writing these on a thought bubble.


When writing their second paragraph, the children thought carefully about describing the setting of the river world that the character stepped into. They ‘imagineered’ the setting and wrote expanded noun phrases to describe what they experienced.


At one point in the story the main character met another in their imaginary world. They needed to include dialogue at this point so completed a SPAG activity for this before completing the story.

In Sycamore class, they began thinking about the implications of the different types of pollution on the wildlife living in and around the rivers. They first discussed the different river animals the children knew, before focusing on three: otters, water voles and kingfishers. The children completed a burn 2 learn where they found the name of the animal and matched it to a picture of it, a picture of its habitat and facts about the animal.

They then considered how the pollution would affect the animal. They then stepped into the shoes of their chosen animal and wrote a diary of a day in the life of the animal comparing how its life was before pollution and now. Their SPAG focuses were using expanded noun phrases and passive voice.