Learning about landforms is always one of the highlights of the year for my students. And writing about landforms is an even bigger deal in my classroom. In this post, I’ll show you why!
We begin our unit by learning about many different types of land and water features. My class gets very excited when I change out our reference wall. They know something new is headed their way!
Landforms Informational Books
As we read about oceans, mountains, valleys, and volcanoes, students categorize them as land or water features. To check for understanding I have my students describe various landforms on their whiteboards.
Our dry erase markers made great rolling pins! I gave each student a chunk of clay about the size of a lemon and a good, sturdy Chinet paper plate. I’ve used styrofoam plates in the past but these work the best. Plus, the kids can paint around the edges of the plate to create an ocean without the paint flaking off once it dries.
Guess what? Almost every single island had a cave or an ACTIVE volcano! Oh, the allure of hot lava to a seven year old!
Next, we painted our imaginary islands and decided in what ocean and near which continent they would be located.
We recently learned all about maps and put those map skills to work by drawing maps of our islands complete with a compass rose and map key.
I pulled up one of my favorite Powerpoints from Teacher’s Clubhouse as a reference for students to use as they make map keys.
Writing About Landforms
We do a culminating, creative narrative writing project during our landforms study that gets kids writing about science, using map skills, and even includes some functional writing.
Students used this prewriting page to brainstorm and decide on the location, landforms, weather, jobs, and special features of their islands.
They then wrote postcards home to Mon and Dad from their imaginary islands.
We glued all of our writing and map inside a construction paper folder with the postcard on the front.
Landforms Literacy Centers
Geography Jabber was a big hit! Students worked in pairs to spin a landform, determine if it was a land or water feature, then tell their partner everything they know about that specific land formation.
Having reference charts available gives students a visual as they write vocabulary booklets with definitions.
On the last day of our unit I use this assessment. Students match landforms to their descriptions, list water and land formations, explain the forces that create landforms, and illustrate plateaus and peninsulas.
We finished our projects just in time for conference week. Every single parent told me how excited their child was for them to see their islands and read their writing. I love when that happens!
If you’d like to do this landforms project with your class you can! Click this link or any of the pictures to take you right to it in my TPT shop. I’ve even included these bulletin board display pieces too!
You can see last year’s writing projects in this post.
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