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Identifying and Comparing Landforms

Identifying and Comparing Landforms

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to identify and compare different landforms, including mountains, hills, valleys, and plains.

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Essential Understanding

The students know that Earth consists of useful resources and its surface is constantly changing.

Science Background

Surface of the Earth: National Geographic (website) - Engaging photos of different landforms, with accompanying explanations and links to related information.

Surface of the Earth
National Geographic,

Landforms and Bodies of Water: (website) - Glossary with illustrations of 30 different landforms.

Landforms and Bodies of Water

Signature Lesson

How to Make Landforms from Clay: (website) - Students identify and compare landforms, and increase their awareness of each landform’s purpose by sculpting them.

How to Make Landforms from Clay
by Kelly Sundstrom,

Supporting Lessons

Papier Mache Landforms: (website) – Students make a papier mache model of one continent, featuring three landforms they have studied.

Papier Mache Landforms
by Bruce Pohlmann,

Exploring Landforms: (website) - This interdisciplinary unit explores several types of landforms. Students choose a famous landform to investigate, and then create/give a presentation.

Exploring Landforms
by Angela Mostoller and Sally Howell,

Learning the Landforms: The Core Knowledge Foundation (PDF) - Extensive unit on landforms and bodies of water, with a variety of activities to explore Earth’s geographical features. Integrates reading, writing and art.

Learning the Landforms
The Core Knowledge Foundation,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

How to Teach Landforms to Students: (website) - Includes a number of ideas for extending students’ knowledge of landforms, including clay modeling and creating a landform bulletin board.

How to Teach Landforms to Students
by Cathryn Whitehead,

Landforms: TeacherLINK (website) - In this connection with social studies, students investigate and build a model of a specific geographical landform along the Mormon Pioneer Trail.


Assessment Ideas

Give the class a worksheet to complete while students come to the teacher's desk one at a time. Give each student a graham cracker and some brown, green and blue frosting. Students should demonstrate their knowledge of landforms by creating different forms on the graham cracker, using the frosting provided. They also should explain their thinking. This activity can serve as a formative assessment or scored using a rubric for a more formal test.

Landforms Matching: Discovery Education (website) - Landform vocabulary matching quiz.

Landforms Matching
Discovery Education,

Literature Connections

Introducing Landforms. Kalman, Bobbie (ISBN-10: 0778732134)

What Is a Landform? Rissman, Rebecca (ISBN-10: 1432932586)

America’s National Parks: The Spectacular Forces That Shaped Our Treasured Lands. Michels, Dia and Levy, Nathan (ISBN: 0 7894 8016 6)

In Search of The Grand Canyon: Down The Colorado River with John Wesley Powell. Fraser, Mary Ann (ISBN: 0-805-05543-6)

Mountains. Collier, Michael (ISBN: 9781931414180)

Valleys. Webster, Christine (ISBN: 0-736-83716-7)

Related Science TEKS

(3.7A) Formation of Soils
The student is expected to explore and record how soils are formed by weathering of rock and the decomposition of plant and animal remains.

(3.7B) Rapid Changes in Earth Surface
The student is expected to investigate rapid changes in Earth's surface such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides.

Related Math TEKS

3.14D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

Additional Resources

Landforms for Second Graders: (website) - Ideas for studying landforms with a salt dough mixture, suggested by a teacher from Texas.

Landforms for Second Graders
by Cheryl Herrera,

Landforms by Hand: (website) - Teach landforms in this simple activity using your hand.

Landforms by Hand
by Pam Gardner,

Landforms: The ProTeacher Collection (website) - Teachers’ ideas for hands-on activities that reinforce students’ understanding of landforms.

The ProTeacher Collection,

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