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Majestic 3-D Landscapes

Create a 3-D presentation of the landscape where you live, or landforms anywhere in the world. The foreground, middle ground, and background layers pop right out!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. During an investigation into the geographic features of a given region, invite students to investigate various types of landforms, especially those relevant to your area of study. Encourage seeking out the location of hills, bodies of water, valleys, wetlands, and other natural physical features. Ask children to make predictions about how these landforms were created and research teacher selected Internet websites to validate their predictions. Provide several classroom maps for observation, including elevation maps, for students to see the physical features of the Earth's surface.
    2. Offer opportunities for students to share their new knowledge about landforms with classmates. This can be done in a small group setting. Have students take notes of facts they are learning during the presentations.
    3. Once presentations have concluded, share several photographs of the well-known regional landforms and ask students to take note of features that appear farthest away in the scene-the scene's background. Clouds and mountains, for example, might be several miles away. Have students sketch a similar background on a full sheet of dark construction paper using Crayola Gel Markers. Students will fill them with interesting designs at a later point in the lesson.
    4. On a second sheet of dark construction paper, students decide what large features they would like to see in front of the background. This would be referred to as the middle ground. (Trees and streams might be in middle ground.) Allow class time for students to sketch their interpretation of middle ground features.
    5. On a third sheet of dark construction paper, invite students to draw the foreground with Gel Markers. The things closest to the viewer of a photograph might be buildings or flowers.
    6. Next, students color their three grounds with Gel Markers. Encourage children to experiment with different color combinations. Students can create interesting textures in large spaces by outlining an object, such as a cloud, and then make lines following that outline. Keep following these lines until the area is filled in. To create interesting textures for grasses and trees, make small lines or shapes and overlap them with more of the same.
    7. Students use Crayola Scissors to cut out the sections, making sure their sizes overlap but do not completely cover each other. Place several layers of self-adhesive foam dots on top of each other. Attach them to the back of the middle and foreground pieces.
    8. Press the middle ground on top of the background so that it sticks out. Press the foreground on top of the middle ground.
    9. Allow time for students to step back and observe their artwork. Let them know that they have just built relief sculptures. In small groups, encourage students to use Internet resources to view well known relief sculptures and analyze what characteristics of each art piece qualifies it as a relief sculpture.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.

    SCI: Obtain information about the locations of a variety of Earth’s features and map the geographic patterns that emerge.

    SCI: Analyze maps and other data to determine the likelihood of geological hazards occurring in an area and evaluate the possible effects on landforms and organisms.

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

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Introducing Landforms by Bobbie Kalman; Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton; The Seven Continents by Wil Mara; What Is a Landform? By Rebecca Rissman

    Students sketch a world map with the borders of all countries drawn in. Locate and identify major landforms. Include information regarding height, depth, age, etc. of each landmark.

    Working in small groups, students investigate specific landforms and their history. Create a 3-D model of the landform using Crayola Model Magic to accompany student presentation of information about the landform.

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