Learning about landforms is always a highlight for my students. We do a building and writing project that gives students not only a chance to show what they’ve learned, but to write creative personal narratives about the landform islands they’ve built. this post contains lots of teaching ideas for building and writing about landforms. If you will be teaching a landforms unit soon, these engaging activities and fun, hands-on projects are sure to excite your students as much as they do mine!
We begin our unit by learning about many different types of land and water features.
Books About Landforms
Dry erase markers make great rolling pins for this project. I give 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 the Chinette plates work the best and don’t break. Another benefit of the paper Chinette plates is that students can paint around the edges of the plate to make an ocean without the paint flaking off once it dries.
Each year almost every single island has 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.
My students 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
At the end of our unit, we do a culminating, creative narrative writing project that gets kids writing creatively, using map skills, and includes some functional writing.
Students use a prewriting page to brainstorm and decide on the location, landforms, weather, jobs, and special features of their islands.
They then wrote postcards home to Mom and Dad from their imaginary islands.
Once complete, we glue 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! My class 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.
Using landforms reference charts, students made vocabulary booklets to define and write about each landform.
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.
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. The unit includes detailed lesson plans, landforms reference charts, a landforms writing project with templates and planning pages, landforms literacy centers, bulletin board display, and a unit assessment.