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Geography: The World and Its People 2002 Edition

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Web Activity Lesson Plan
Chapter 20: Central Africa
"Congo River"


Throughout history rivers have served as important sources of water, resources, transportation, and power. The Congo River, which winds through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, serves all these purposes. Its waters have been essential to the development of settlements in this part of Africa.

Lesson Description

Students will visit a Web site on the Congo River. They can read about the geography of the river and its use as a transportation route and source of hydroelectric power. Then they will answer several questions and write an essay explaining the importance of the Congo River to Central Africa.

National Geography Standards:
Standard 4: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 16: The geographically informed person knows and understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.

Instructional Objectives

  1. The student will be able to describe the geography of the Congo River and its basin.
  2. The student will be able to utilize a map resource.
  3. The student will be able to compose a well-written essay on the importance of the Congo River.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. The Atlantic Ocean is 2,900 miles (4,700 km) from the source of the Congo River. It takes water six months to travel this course.
  2. The 32 cataracts spread out over the Congo River's lower course make travel extremely difficult, but they also have great potential as a source of hydroelectric power.
  3. Students' answer may include: the Congo begins as the Chambeshi River, it begins in the highlands of northeastern Zambia between Lakes Tanganyika and Nyasa, the source is a tiny spring that bubbles up under a waterberry tree, it starts at an elevation of 5,760 ft. (1,760 m) above sea level, the source is located about 430 miles (690 km) from the Indian Ocean in west-central Africa.
  4. Students' answers may include any of the other features along the Congo, including the Bangweulu Swamp, other tributaries, and waterfalls, but they should make an accurate connection between the feature and the Congo River.
  5. Students' essays may vary.

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