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All About Landforms
Students will identify and describe at least four different types of landforms.
- Introduce the lesson by telling and discussing with students interesting facts about the Earth. For example: One-fourth of the Earth’s surface is covered by land. The land on the Earth is not the same everywhere. These different physical features found on the surface of the Earth are called landforms. Landforms can affect the weather, climate, and lifestyle of a community.
- Develop a definition of landforms that includes some examples through discussion.
- Discussion should include the impact of landforms on a community. For example, landforms affect where people live and build their communities. Travel routes are often designed according to landforms such as mountains.
- Write down the definition your class develops where all students can see it.
- Have students write down the vocabulary word landform and the definition in their notebooks.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(15 minutes)
- Display pictures of landforms, and label them on the board.
- Remind your students that mountains are the highest landform on Earth’s surface, and they may be steep and covered with snow or have gentle slopes with a rounded top. Explain that a group of mountains is called a mountain range.
- Show your students a picture of hills, and explain that these are areas of raised land.
- Tell your students that plateaus are areas of high land that often have steep sides but are typically flat or hilly on top.
- Display an example of plains, informing them that these are large areas of flat land.
- Remind your students that valleys are low areas that lie between two mountains or hills, and they are often formed by rivers or glaciers.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Display a geographic map of the state in which you live where all students can see it.
- Locate and discuss any landforms that exist in your state.
- Talk about the symbols used to represent hills, mountains, plateaus, or valleys on the map.
- Demonstrate how a map has a legend, or a map key, that identifies the symbol and its meaning.
- Extend the lesson by looking at a geographic map of the United States or the country your students live in. Locate and discuss various landforms.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Hand out at least 3 pieces of paper to each student to make a mini dictionary of the terms from this lesson.
- Instruct students to fold their papers in half to create a booklet. Have them staple them on the sides.
- Ask your students to title the booklet “Landform Dictionary” or something similar.
- Have your students create a page for each vocabulary word and write the definitions. Direct them to include a drawing with each landform.
- Collect all mini dictionaries when completed.
- Enrichment: Challenge your students to include additional landforms and map symbols in their dictionaries.
- Support: Have your students verbally define the landforms instead of writing them out in their booklets. Show them the pictures of the landforms again to help them differentiate between landforms such as mountains and hills. Give them other real-life examples, such as the Rocky Mountains.
- Review students’ work in their mini dictionaries.
- Provide feedback and assess their understanding of landforms.
- Work with students that did not display a clear understanding of the concepts in a small group.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Return mini dictionaries to students.
- Ask for student volunteers to come up and share one of their pages with the class.