Lesson 3: Landforms

Getting Started

Many of the maps that you used in Lesson 2 included landforms, which are natural features of the Earth. In this lesson, you'll learn more about different kinds of landforms and how they were formed.

Stuff You Need

  • Geography of the World by DK Publishing
  • The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World by Caroline Arnold
  • 2' x 3' board
  • 3' long length of rubber hose or flexible plastic tubing
  • 7 index cards* (Activity 3 - Option 2)
  • 7 sheets of brown or gray 9" x 12" construction paper* (Activity 3 - Option 2)
  • Access to a sandbox, sand table, beach, or other sandy area
  • Funnel
  • graph paper* (Activity 3 - Option 1)
  • journal
  • Large plate, small plate, and cup
  • Non-toxic modeling clay
  • Pencil
  • Pitcher
  • Ruler* (Activity 3 - Option 1)
  • Scissors
  • Tracing paper
  • Transparent tape* (Activity 3 - Option 2)
  • White paint

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed

Ideas to Think About

  • How have the landforms on Earth changed over time?
  • How are landforms shaped by forces such as gravity and the movement of wind and water?
  • How do humans influence erosion?
  • How do natural resources affect human patterns of settlement?

Things to Know

  • Landforms are natural features of the Earth's surface.
  • The theory of continental drift explains that the continents have moved slowly over time to their current locations, shaping many features of the Earth's surface.
  • Erosion is the gradual wearing away of rock and soil from the Earth's surface.
  • Deltas are flat, triangular plains that form when silt (fine particles of soil) is deposited near the mouth of a river.
  • Know the features of and the differences among islands, peninsulas, isthmuses, straits, bays, and fjords.


  • Identify and analyze forces that cause change in landforms over time, including water and ice, wind, and gravity. (SS)
  • Discuss and consider the wearing away and movement of rock and soil in erosion and its importance in forming canyons and valleys. (SS)
  • Discuss how the flow of water and the slope of land affect erosion. (SS)
  • Discuss and analyze how humans influence erosion and deposition in local communities as a result of activities like clearing land, planting vegetation, or building dams or other water-altering structures. (SS)
  • Describe the deposition of eroded material and its importance in establishing landforms including deltas and flood plains. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

Explain to your child that over the next two days, she will be learning about landforms, which are natural physical features on the surface of the earth. She will be learning what these features are, how they were formed, and how they affect the lives of the people who live near them.