Rivers and streams are bodies of water that flow from a source point, join with other rivers to form larger rivers, and eventually flow into an ocean or sea. The part of a river or stream that is near the source is called the headwaters. Sources of rivers are usually places like mountains, where melting snow forms the beginning of a river, or springs, where water flows out of the ground. Rivers and streams flow down a gradient (or slope), eventually joining other rivers and streams to form larger rivers. The smaller rivers that join to form a larger one are called “tributaries.” The largest rivers eventually carry all of that water into the ocean. For example, the Saint Lawrence River is a very large river that carries water from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

BioKIDS home  |  Questions?  |  Animal Diversity Web  |  Cybertracker Tools

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
Copyright © 2002-2024, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

University of Michigan