Fraction Earth -- Water & Land

Fraction Earth -- Water & Land lesson plan

Environmental science, math, and art team up! Find out how much of the Earth is water and how much is land. Students make a globe to show what they know!

  • 1.

    The earth is a very wet place. Share maps with students that show where water is located in their community, country, and planet. Students look at a globe to find the world’s largest bodies of water. Ask students where that water comes from and to identify the continents. What if all continents were pushed together? How much of the planet would be water? What fraction would be land? Estimate, then have students research to find out what other scientists have calculated.

  • 2.

    Students create a new globe to show what fraction of the planet is water. Smooth Crayola Model Magic® over a crumpled foil ball to create a sphere. Air-dry the Earth overnight. To keep the globe from rolling, balance it on a paper cup.

  • 3.

    Cover the painting area with recycled newspaper. Use blue Crayola Premier™ Tempera Paint to cover the fraction of Earth that is water. Paint the remaining fraction green or brown to stand for land. Air-dry the paint.

  • 4.

    Add Crayola Tempera Mixing Mediums to create textured effects on the globe. Paint Pearl It! over blue areas to create the effect of shimmering water. Mix Texture It! into green or brown paint. Dab textured paint onto land areas to make peaks and bumps. Air-dry the globe.

  • 5.

    Students will be able to feel how much of the planet is water and how much is land just as easily as you can see it!


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Understand addition and subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts referring to the same whole.
  • MATH: Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole and having like denominators.
  • SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.
  • SCI: Offer causal explanations appropriate to level of scientific knowledge.
  • SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.


  • Possible classroom resource: One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss
  • Working in small groups, students research the ratio between land and water on the planet Earth. Encourage students to manipulate the fractions from differing denominators to the same denominator. Have students use geometric manipulatives to assist with the visual conversions, if necessary. Challenge students to find other ways to state the ratio.
  • Fraction Earth Toss Game: Use Fraction Earth globes and inflatable traditional globes to make predictions and collect data about the Earth's surface. Toss each globe back and forth 25 times. Record what part of the globe is touched by the catcher's thumb for each toss. Before starting, predict how many touches will be on land and how many on water. Older students should be able to compare predictions with actual data.
  • Working in small groups, students generate a list of ways in which humans use the oceans, rivers, lakes, and waterways in their everyday lives. Then ask students to brainstorm how their lives might be altered if the size or quality of the Earth's bodies of water changed dramatically. Post student discussion notes in the classroom for further discussion as a whole class.