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Continents and Oceans

Compiled By: Mrs. G

This is a collection of activities to help you teach the continents and oceans.

continents and oceans
Posted by: Anneliese

I have students work in cooperative groups to create a map using the following directons:

Using their own hands as scissors, students will create each continent as follows: green-North America, yellow-South America, red-Europe, purple-Asia, pink-Africa, brown-Australia, orange-Antarctica
Label each of the continents with a marker.
Set each of the continents on the blue construction paper in its’ appropriate place.
Check your map to be sure each of the continents are in the correct place.
Paste the continents on the paper.
Label the four oceans and draw a compass rose.

This project works well to promote cooperative activities, reinforces the location of the continents and oceans as well as their relative size and shape.

Posted by: Anneliese

I have a few ideas that I learned from a colleague. To start we use maps with continents labeled on our desk. I guide the students in tapping the approximate spot on their desk where the conintent is on the map. I do this by drawing a rectangle on the board to use as my desk and I face the board so I am using the same hands they are. We touch the spots and say the names as we go around the map: North America South America... Then we do it without the maps and eventually I touch a spot on the rectangle and they tell me which continent it would be.

Another idea is a cooperative group project where students create a map of the continents by tearing color coded pieces of construction paper in the approximate shape and relative size of the continent. These are then glued on a large sheet of blue construction paper, the oceans are labeled as are the continents and a compass rose is added.

As a culminating activity to the unit on continents I have the students plan a trip. They pick a country on a continent other than North America and then complete a worksheet with informaion about the distance and general direction a flight from NYC would take, what oceans they would fly over if it flew directly to the country, the average temperature for the area and what they would want to see. Some of this information comes from maps in our text books and some from web sites. Then the students have to add this to a framed paragraph and pack a suitcase to bring in with appropriate clothing and at least 5 extra items that would be appropriate. This is used in an oral presentation. The students receive extra credit if they "send" a postcard (they create) to the teacher or class.

Hope these help.

Posted by: Donna

We also do a fun paper mache project. We make our own globes. Just follow the normal paper mache techniques using newspaper over a round balloon. Then paint blue for the oceans. I have them label and color some printouts of the continents and then glue them onto their globe. We place the equator, prime meridian, north and south poles on the globe. I also have them put a "HERE I AM DOT" to label where we live.

This project takes about three days to complete, but it is well worth the time. I usually do the original paper mache stuff on a Friday afternoon so that it has all weekend to dry. Then on Monday, we paint. Then on Wednesday we label and glue. By Friday-they are able to take their globes home. The balloons will eventually shrink and disappear (fall out). Some teachers choose to pop them and take them out before the child takes the project home.

(This paper mache technique on a balloon can also be used to make great Easter egg decorations.)

Posted by: Lori

I make masters of each of the continents. I try to keep them so the sizes match in comparison. Whenever possible I put multiple drawings of the same continent on one sheet. Each continent is run off on a different color ditto paper. Each student gets a copy of each continent. I make a master of all the names of the continents, oceans, equator, compass rose, north pole, south pole, and map title. I put boxes around these names so students can cut them out. Each student gets a large piece of blue roll paper. The students look at a map and place the continents and words in the appropriate places.I have found they get a lot of experience saying the names of the continents and oceans while doing this activity.

great project
Posted by: Kimberley

I have done this project with 3rd and 5th grade students. Rather than paint the continents, I have them color and cut out photocopied shapes. They then draw the equator and follow step by step instructions to glue everything in the proper place. I have done large pumpkins with groups but I purchased those and it got expensive. Now I have each child bring in a smaller pumpkin and they do their own. Elmer's glue seems to be the best at keeping the paper glued down. They just have to make sure they get all of the edges. Also, in 5th grade, I had the kids draw lines of longitude and latitude. I place the finished pumpkins on heavy duty paper plates with the the kids' names then put them in the hall outside my classroom. Will see if I can attach a picture.

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Grocery Bag Globes
Posted by: ABC

We make grocery bag globes which is work, but is easier than paper mache. Take larger size brown bags from the grocery store and stuff with newspaper until full. Tape closed and push corners from the bottom of the bag down to make as round as possible. It won't be perfectly round but fairly close. Paint all blue. Then glue continents on. I even hang them from the ceiling by wrapping yarn around it like a package. Once everything is on they look great. :)

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"Punch-out" continents
Posted by: kit1024


I teach 2nd, but this may work with 1st, too. I copy black line masters of all the continents on different colors of construction paper. Then the kids lay on the carpet and use a push pin to punch out the borders of each continent. If they punch holes really close together, after they are finished, it will punch out really easily like a perforated edge. Then they glue these on large blue ovals.

I found that if you really take the time to emphasize safety with the push pins, this project works great for primary kids. Some of the borders of the continents are difficult to cut with their fine-motor skills and scissor skills, so doing it this way allows the continents to look really nice. Also, my kids think it is soooo fun! We take about 2 weeks to do this project, and my kids usually ask if we can do Social Studies twice a day during this time period. :)

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story about the continents and oceans
Posted by: Gaye Murphy

I had my 3rd graders memorize this story and just today a 5th grader told me that the story helped them remember the continents. Here's the story: North America and South America got married and went to Europe for their honeymoon. They had four children and each child's name starts with the letter A. The largest child has the smallest name. For some reason this story sticks in their mind. I also had them create their own Island named Shoe Island. They traced their own shoe and had to create a map with a legend and key. They loved it.

continents song
Posted by: Joanne Catlett

to the tune of 99 bottles of beer on the wall:

To learn the 7 continents think of the letter A
and when you're down to only one an E will save the day.

There's Africa. Antartica, Australia, Asia too. The oceans run between them with their waters deep and blue.

There are also 2 Americas North and South you see.
And now you're coming to the end, Europe starts with E.

I think this is all of it.

all i have
Posted by: summertime

Of all our planet's oceans,
three are bigger than the rest.
One is just gigantic.
Do you know it? Have you guessed?
See if you can name the three.
And say the biggest first.
If you name these oceans right,
Your teacher will just burst!
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian!

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Continent Song
Posted by: MommyO

While my class is learning about the continents, I made up a song to the tune of "The Adams Family." They point to each continent and ocean as they sing the song.

Continents of Earth (snap, snap)
Continents of Earth (snap, snap)
There's Asia and there's Europe
There's North and South America
There's Africa and Australia
Don't forget Antarctica
Continents of Earth (snap, snap)
Contitnents of Earth (snap, snap)

Oceans of Earth (snap, snap)
Oceans of Earth (snap, snap)
There's Pacific and Atlantic
Indian and Arctic
They all salt water
The four oceans of the Earth
Oceans of Earth (snap, snap)
Oceans of Earth (snap, snap)

I've done this with both 2nd and 3rd graders, and it's always a big hit. In fact I've had some former students who are now in junior high and high school come up to me and still recite the song! Hope this helps!

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Jump rope
Posted by: apple annie

My kids combine recess with memorizing the continent names. While they jump rope, they chant the continents in this order: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica. If you say one on every jump, the rhythm works and it's easy to memorize. After we do that a couple of days, they have to come to the map and say the chant and point to the right one. If they can do it, I give them a mini-candy bar. Of course that's just to locate and memorize them, but it's a good beginning.

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