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From Coast to Coast

Jump into geography and geology by making a book that illustrates natural landforms! Where does the fault lie?

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask students what they see when they look out of car, bus, train, or airplane windows? What are the biggest things that change? Is the road always flat and straight? Are there rock walls? How about bodies of water?
    2. Have students close their eyes and imagine that they are a bird. So many things can be seen while flying in the sky. Students pick two points on a map. It can be their hometown and where a relative lives -- or any other two places in the world. What land features would they see when they fly from one place to the other. Would they see islands? Mountains or hills? Rivers or oceans? Inlets or an isthmus?
    3. Students find maps and pictures of the landforms along the route they would travel. Have students make a list of the many types of landscapes they could see on their trip. Are there deserts? Glaciers? Faults? Volcanoes?
    4. On construction paper, draw a picture of each land feature with Crayola® Washable Markers. Label each page with the type of landform and where they would see it on the trip.
    5. Students draw front and back covers for the land features book on construction paper. Give the book a catchy title and include their name on the cover.
    6. Place the pages of the book inside its cover. Punch two holes through the pages. Cut two pieces of yarn with Crayola Scissors. Thread yarn through the holes to bind the book.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    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.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands, and oceans.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Mountains by Cassie Mayer; What Is a Landform?) by Rebecca Rissman; Caves by Cassie Mayer; Beginning Geography, Vol. 2: Landforms & Bodies of Water by Jo E. Moore; Valleys by Cassie Mayer; Plains by Emma Berne;

    Working individually or in teams of two, students research a selected well-known landform from their homeland. Students compose a summary paragraph describing the landform, a photograph of it, and an original sketch created by the student(s) to post in the classroom. Students should be prepared to present their selected landform to classmates.

    Students draw a world map. Landforms researched by students will be identified on this map. Identification should include locating the landform, providing its official name, and a one-to-two sentence descriptive summary of the landform.

    In small groups, students listen to Woody Guthrie's song, "This Land is Your Land." Students identify vocabulary in the song that connects to their study of landforms. Students create a list of these words to post in their classroom. Use this song and the vocabulary list to compose an original song about their landforms. Students should be prepared to present their original song to classmates.


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  • Creativity.
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  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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