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Compiled By: Mrs. G

These are hands on activities to reinforce the concept of landforms.

Posted by: Wendie

One of the ways I teach landforms is that we make a "3-D booklet" for lack of a better word. We use brown construction paper and cut mountains. That is our back. Then the students create hills from green construction paper. Make sure the hills are smaller than the mountains. The next layer is blue construction paper. The blue represents the water. On the same blue strip I have them cut an ocean wave and a lake (on the same strip.)I have the students begin cutting a strip then turn the strip into a wave, then back into a strip which represents the river. Then from the river they cut out a shape that looks like a lake. THe last layer is stapled on top of the blue paper which would be a flat green strip to represent the plains. I also have the students draw snow on a few of the mountains so that I can show them how the snow melts and travels down in a stream which them meets up with the river or lake. I hope this helps!!

Landforms idea
Posted by: Patrice Boggs

A successful strategy after introducing different landforms from the text is to have the students create landform models with paper mache. First let the students help you make a list of the landforms they've studied. Then allow each student to choose 5 or more different items from the list to represent. Students can use 10x12 pieces of stiff cardboard to layer their paper mache onto. After it dries, they can paint and label. Finally, have all students tour the landform models and evaluate for accuracy.

Posted by: iteach4th

I, too, teach landforms to my 4th graders. Last year, instead of the regular paper/pencil quiz at the end of the unit, we used colored frosting and graham crackers! The students needed to show me and describe to me 5 different landforms that they made on their cracker out of their colored frosting. It was so much fun....the kids loved it. They were still talking about "eating the test" at the end of the year!

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A few ideas
Posted by: StephR

"Magic School Bus Goes Inside the Earth" is a great book to help kick off your unit. Talks about going inside the various layers of the earth, the different types of rocks, some landforms, etc. It has a lot of information and can lead you in many different directions.

One fun little activity you can do in conjunction with volcanoes is to create little volcanos out of playdough and then erupt them. The kids love doing this and you can have discussions on the different types and the ways they erupt along the way.

And of course there is always the good old salt dough map to teach different landforms and regions.

I hope this gives you a few different ideas to get the creative juices flowing!

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Posted by: change2R

We used to make the landforms out of peat gravel on the playground. Toward the end of our unit I would give the kids index cards with the various names of landforms. I would break the class into groups and they had to make the landforms and label them. They alsays enjoyed this time outside.

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Posted by: Carol

Our 4th grade classes make clay landforms each year. It's a great way to assess the students after teaching about the different land and water forms. They love choosing 5 or 6 different landforms and making them with different colored clay. We cover a small paper plate. Small flags are added to label each landform. THe kids can't believe it's a TEST! Try it, it's fun and easy.

Posted by: kristininphxaz31

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but at my school, we had the students create landform projects as a home project. The only rule was that it had to be able to be brought to school (so it couldn't be huge). They kids made some absolutely amazing things. They could use any materials they choose and most did not even buy extra things. I can add some of the ideas that the kids made if you want to know more. By the way, the kids LOVED it, and really understand the characteristics of the landforms and the bodies of water now.

landforms activity
Posted by: Carol

Hi. Yesterday, after learning about landforms, I had each student create one using salt dough. Each student created an assigned landform in a shoebox lid. What I learned was you need other adults to help. I had a total of four adults. The salt dough was made by a parent and was rather sticky. Luckily I had plenty of flour on hand to help the students make it more pliable to work with. They are drying now and we will paint them soon. It was a great (although messy) hands-on project and the students really had to think about their landform and how to create it.

Salt Dough Recipe
Posted by: 3Teach

Salt Dough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
½ cup water
1 teaspoon oil
a few drops brown food coloring

Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl and then add the water. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Store in baggie to prevent dough from drying out.

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Posted by: 4th grade teacher

Hi! In my 4th grade classroom, we use clay to make various landforms. We use a small paper plate and the students show me mountain ranges, valley, lakes, islands, plateaus, ocean, etc. by covering it with different colored clay. It's how I test the unit....they are graded not on how they made the clay land or water form, but if they could verbally explain it to me as they point to it. It's great fun, and they look great. I would think your 2nd graders could do this, too. Try it!

Posted by: cll

We are studying the same thing in my 2nd grade class. As an ending activity we made salt dough islands. We made the dough together and then I gave them a hunk to make their island. All I told them to do was to be sure to put different types of landforms on their island. After they dried they painted them. It took several days for them to dry.

They drew a map of their island and included the capital and major cities. Next I had them write a paragraph describing their island (what ocean it was in, what landforms were on it, what the weather was like, the name, etc.) They also wrote a paragraph about the people (what they looked like, what they ate, what jobs they had, what their houses looked like.) Then I had them pretend to be a person from their island and describe a day in their life.

Everything had to be tied to what landforms were on their island and where it was. For example, one of my boys had a chocolate theme. His island was in the Arctic Ocean so it was cold to keep the chocolate from melting. He had a chocolate river and the people worked at making chocolate candies.

You could have your principal observe you making the dough, which is measurement and reading a recipe, and then explain about the future writing tie -in.

You can search the internet for different recipes and things to do with salt dough maps. I used 4 cups of flour, 3 cups of salt, 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil for each group. I had four groups of six kids each. There are about 20 different recipes that I found on the web. The islands turned out a little flaky, and if they make mountains you have to be careful, because the inside does not completely dry and they can tip over. My second graders are thrilled, though!

Hope this helped. Search the web for other ideas!

Posted by: diana

After teaching landforms and giving them a "glossary" of terms for reference I give them an 11x17 piece of white construction paper. They draw a large island. I tell them that this island is special because it has each landform, they draw it, give it a name, and label each landform. This usually takes some time, but well worth it. My students last year never forgot what a valley was. I also give them a rubric.

Posted by: Kasey

An idea I have had, but haven't used yet (that's the disclaimer) is to have 6" squares of 1/4 in. plywood for each student. Assign a landform to each student, and have them create it onto the wood square out of salt dough or clay. I would have my class do this part at home. I envision a huge layout showing every landform. Every edge of the square would need to be at about 1/4 inch high so that it would seam together. You could even have them paint their square appropriate colors. Several "plains" squares together would form a nice sized plain, etc. What a great display for Open House or Student Led Conferences! Someday I'll do this...

I use expert groups
Posted by: Misty

I divide my kids into 5 groups and each group becomes an expert on their region. We all read the landform lesson at one time. Then we present our region's landforms on a laminated blank map i made and keep up all year. I go from group to group discussing with each group as I go. The groups get a grade on nhow well they work together and how well they discuss to ensure each person knows the info. Then on landforms we make a clay map using a self hardening clay. We draw the US on a pizza round you can buy in bulk at Sams. then the kids make the clay at home and we form the map at school. After 2-3 days you can paint the map. then we test on the landforms presented. On climate I do the same thing except we give a sample weather report. Each person can choose a different season and research the climate of their region during that season. That gives you 20 reports. The others can explain the lake effect and the rain shadow effect, etc. I have them watch weather reports and try to sound as much like a weather reporter as possible. Each region presents and then discusses overalll climate. I make sure to be clear about weather vs climate. This is what I've doe so far. I'm working up a plan for the next lesson.

Landform Ideas
Posted by: Kim

I teach landforms and just love it! I show the kids how to "walk like a landform." Just use your imagination when it comes to this..we walk flat like a plain, we do lunges across the room like a mountain, little ups and downs for hills and so on. At the end of the unit we make an edible landform map. The kids pick a state or the whole country and make their map. I pre-make green frosting, blue frosting and a ton of peanut butter dough. I supply all sorts of candy and stuff that could be made to be a landform. The kids work in groupd of two to create their masterpieces. I usually do it around Open House when the parents can come in and see them.

Here are some activities and worksheets
Posted by: Funnygirl

I hope this is helpful.

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landform game
Posted by: sharon77

I do a review activity where I split the class up into pairs or groups and pass around pictures of different landforms. I also put 2 or 3 other random pictures in there with them (like a pretty fall picture or an animal picture, that don't show a landform, and give them a title such as 'fall beauty'). I have a list of all the choices on the board and the students get a few minutes to look at their picture and decide what it is before I pass them to the next group. The pictures are numbered and they write their answers down on a piece of paper. I have gotten my pictures out of travel magazines, etc. and laminated them to use each year.

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Landform Step Book
Posted by: kerilyn137

Here are the directions for the step book. This is from our Social Studies Curriculum. First, you need to cut a lot of construction paper in the following ways:
yellow 9"x4"
green 9'x6"
blue 9"x8"
brown 9"x10"
white 9"x12"

You will also need a paper grocery bag, paper plates, watercolors, crayons, glue, and labels(if you want to use them).

1. Cut the construction paper. Stack the colored strips with the shortest on top and the longest on the bottom. Staple the stack to the flap of the bag, creating a step book.
2. Using a green crayon, create land masses on the paper plate, coloring darkly. Paint the rest of the plate blue. Cut the plate in half and glue one half to the bottom flap of the bag.
3. Label the layers of the step book for the different environments: Yellow- desert, green- forest, blue- water, brown- mountains, white- Arctic. Glue a title to the bottom flap, and a label to each of the layers (I had them write: My earth has... (mountains, water, etc.).
4.Cut or decorate the top edge of each layer. Add details, such as sand for the desert, glitter for the Arctic, peaks for the mountains, grass for the forest.
5. You can use the bag for whatever. I save it for Open House and have them use the bags for their portfolios!

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i taught a unit on landforms
Posted by: suzyscq1

and my kids had a blast. 2 things that really stick out in my mind I did were:
the landform cookies. i know, i know....crazy nutrition things, BUT, if they take them home and dont eat them at school, I got around it. meh. :rolleyes:
I bought sugar cookies (plains), snocaps (mountains w/ snow), yellow decorating sugar (desert), green deco sugar crystals (grassy plain), blue squirt icing (rivers/lakes/pond, etc) and for the valley i had them make a thumb print in them. I wish i had pics but they turned out really great and the kids would go around showing what eat part was to other kids.

the other thing I did was to get alot of images of different landforms. I made a powerpoint slide show of these and had a game with those little bells from walmart you ding. 2 teams and whoever rang in first with teh correct identif. of what landform they were looking at won (they won like, extra library time).
If you do someting for deserts, it may be hard to find this time of year in stores, but when i talked about cold (tundra) and hot deserts-i bought some of that fake snow that you add water to, put lamitated prints of things that would live in either desert, had the kids dig thru it and and match which plants/animals would live where....

I hope this helps! :s)

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Posted by: Mrs.Hoss

I also do an edible map made out of "cookie dough". It is mostly peanut butter, so if you have allergies, I used Rice Krispy Treats one year. They use mini chocolate chips for mountains, blue icing for rivers and lakes, etc. We use an outline of the US and trace it on wax paper backwards, then flip it over for them to fill in with the cookie dough.

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landform dictionaries
Posted by: Nataliz

I have had my students create a landform dictionary with Power Point. Students will write definitions of their landforms and find pictures that go along with their landforms.

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I Love Teaching Landforms!
Posted by: 1gr81ntheus

I copied landform maps from and laminated them. I let the kids compare the landforms from each map on a double bubble map (Venn Diagram).

I had the kids to create songs to the tune of Are You Sleeping?
I'm a mountain, I'm a mountain
yes I am yes I am
very tall with snow on top
very tall with snow on top
points on top, points on top

I showed them photographs of me and asked them which landform I'm standing near. I've also used the pictures from calendars. When I use the pictures from calendars we predict which part of the U.S. the picture was probably taken.

I participate in a postcard exchange and have them predict which state it came from based on the landforms in the picture on the card (if there are any).

Just recently I red a story about a Redwood forest (can't think of the exact title) and we sang the song This Land is Your Land. We found all the landforms mentioned in the song on a map and marked them.

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shaving cream
Posted by: loriellen

We make shaving cream landforms. It keeps them engaged, makes the room smell nice, and cleans the desks too!!

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Posted by: Love3rdGrade

I had the kids complete a Landform Dictionary. It had 13 pages with lots of space at the top for a picture and the bottom was the word with lines following it for the kids to write in the definition from their book. Some of the landforms we study are plain, coast, plateau, mountain, volcano, ocean, bay, stream, river, lake, peninsula, and valley. I used a rubric that had each page worth 5 points. 1-neatness (3rd grade work, no scribbling), 2-correct definition, and 2-correct picture. I gave them one point if they only had a partially correct definition or picture. Look out for the pictures of the peninsula as they look rather like a male body part! No offense meant to anyone out there. :) I had a few good laughs with that one when I first started doing this project.
The kids really loved doing the project.

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Posted by: summertime

I had my 2nd graders take a 12x18 piece of oak tag. They drew(outlined) all of the landforms in crayons but didn't color it in. then they took watercolors and painted in all the areas. I gave them each a sheet that had all the names of the landforms on it. they cut out and labeled their landforms. The pictures were very creative and pretty. made a nice bulletin board.

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landform dance
Posted by: sparklinteach

My class does the landform dance. I call out a landform (river, lake, mountain, valley, and plains) and the students have to do the movement that goes along with it. For example, when I call out "river", the students will put their hands together and wiggle their hands like a snake to show how windy a river may be. For a mountain, the students make the mountain tops with their hands. I wish that I could show you so that you might understand a little better. The landform dance is kind of played like charades. You can make up your own movement to represent the landform and have them copy it.

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pop up info cards
Posted by: azfarkas

We made just generic pop up cards and when you opened it the landform was the part that popped up. Like a mountain would popup and then a lake would be at the bottom of it or an island would pop up and an ocean would be at the bottom of it. Then the kids had to write information about the two landforms those chose to include. They turned out really cool and the kids loved them.

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