I pass my old students daily in the hallways and it never fails to amaze me how BIG they get! They often pop in to say hi and my current class loves it when “big kids” visit! Mostly so they can pepper them with questions! Most often they ask “What was your favorite thing you did in second grade?” Learning about landforms is high on the list! Our Continents, Oceans and Landforms project is always a huge highlight and a whole lotta fun!
Learning About Landforms
We start by reviewing continents and oceans (first grade spends a lot of time on this) then identifying and defining different types of landforms.
We worked with vocabulary, classifying landforms as water or land features, labeling continents and oceans on maps, and defining different types of landforms in our literacy centers.
Building Islands with Landforms
One of the highlights of this project is that students can get creative by an imaginary landform filled island. I’ve used both salt dough and Crayola Air Dry Clay to do this project. Both work great and I can often have a parent volunteer either donate the clay or make the salt dough.
I like to do the painting on a Friday so that the islands can dry over the weekend. On Monday students painted our islands making sure to use the blue, green, and brown paint to differentiate between their land and water features.
Incorporating Map Skills
Students named their islands and drew maps that featured all of their land features, a map key, and compass rose.
Landforms in Literacy Centers
I like to integrate science and social studies into our literacy center time. This gives my students many opportunities to use the content vocabulary as well as to read and write about landforms.
I display lots of charts and maps to give students a reference as we work through our unit. You can see more of our landforms literacy centers as well as a list of informational books I use, in this post.
Writing About Landforms
To manage this project, I not only carry our learning about landforms into our literacy centers, but also into our writing block.
Postcard writing is something new to some of my students. it gives them practice in writing their address as they design and write a postcard home to Mom and Dad from our imaginary island.
I’m a little strategic in my timing of this unit to coincide its completion around the time we have parent/teacher conferences.
Click here to see more of the landforms unit I use. This complete unit includes detailed, 2-week lesson plans, writing project, landforms charts, assessments, printables, literacy centers, and bulletin board display.
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