- Third Grade, Fourth Grade
- 45 minutes
Kinesthetic and visual learners will greatly enjoy this playful lesson. Using symbols and gestures, students explore the characteristics of various United States landforms.
After finishing the lesson, students will be able to identify and describe various landforms.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Inform your students of the day's main lesson content: different landforms, or natural features of the Earth, such as mountains and lakes.
- Have students partner up and list as many landforms as they can. As they discuss, record the names of any landforms you hear on the board.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Hand out copies of the Different Landforms worksheet. Have students work independently to complete the worksheet.
- Review the answers to the worksheet as a class.
- Show your students the landform note-taking sheet. Let them know that they'll be working in groups to come up with symbols and gestures for representing given landforms.
- Explain that a symbol is something that represents something else. Give a few examples, such as a heart being a symbol for love.
- Draw a symbol for "mountain" on the board.
- Discuss with your students the definition of a gesture: a body movement that expresses a thing or idea. An example you could start with is: A wave of the hand is a gesture that means "hello."
- Make a triangular shape with your hands and clarify that this is your gesture for "mountain." Have students repeat the gesture.
- Organize the class into seven evenly divided groups. Assign to each group one of the landforms listed on the Types of Landforms worksheet. Make sure no two groups have the same landform, and leave mountain unassigned.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Give groups 2-3 minutes to come up with a symbol and a gesture for each landform.
- Call each group to the front to share their symbol and gesture. As each each group presents, have the other students record the symbols on their note-taking sheet and repeat the gestures.
- Once all groups have completed the activity, call out landform names in random order and have the class demonstrate the gesture associated with each landform.
- If there is extra time remaining, allow volunteers to come up to the front and attempt to demonstrate every gesture.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Have students record the definition of each landform on their Types of Landforms worksheet. Ask them to use the Different Landforms worksheet only as a reference, and use their own words when recording.
- Enrichment: Students who complete their independent assignment promptly can be tasked with working on Venn diagrams for pairs of landforms.
- Support: Monitor struggling students during their independent work portion and provide assistance when needed. If necessary, they can complete the Landform Story using their notes.
Related Books and/or Media
- ACTIVITY: Recreate Your State...Out of Salt Dough!
Assessment (5 minutes)
- To assess the class' understanding of different landforms, have them complete the Landform Story worksheet without using any notes.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Have each student review the landforms' symbols and gestures with a partner. Alternatively, conduct a classroom review.
- Ask students to pair up (if they haven't already done so) and discuss the following question: What is one landform you're interested in learning more about? Why?