Lesson 3: Landforms


Activity 1: The Continents

Materials: Geography of the World by DK Publishing, The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World by Caroline Arnold, Pencil, Scissors, Tracing paper
You may already be able to identify the continents on a globe or world map, but did you know that scientists believe that the continents weren't always in their now-familiar places? Read pages 12-13 in Geography of the World to learn more about the theory of continental drift - the idea that the continents have moved slowly over time to their current locations - and how the movement of the continents has shaped many features of the Earth's surface.

In The Geography Book, read pages 43-44, which provide more information on continental drift. Next, follow the instructions for the map puzzle on page 45, using either a map provided on the "Moving Continents" activity pages (Option 1) or a map that you trace from a book (Option 2). Don't worry too much about cutting precisely around tiny islands and peninsulas - cutting out the main shape of each continent will work fine for this activity.
In this activity, your child will be learning about continental drift by tracing and cutting apart a map of the world and moving the continent pieces. Your child will have the option of using a provided map or creating her own map by tracing a map in Geography of the World. Choose the option that you think will appeal to your child - learners who are more artistic or kinesthetic may prefer creating their own maps to using the map provided.

Option 1

Instead of tracing your own world map, use the "Moving Continents" activity pages as your map.
Option 1 provides activity pages with the continents that can be cut out for this activity.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page

Option 2

Use a blank sheet of thin paper to trace a world map, such as the one shown on pages 10-11 of Geography of the World. Since you'll be using your own paper for this option, there is no activity page.
For this option, your child will trace the world map on their own. There are no activity pages for this option since your child will be using his own paper.

Activity 2: Land and Sea

Materials: Geography of the World by DK Publishing, The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World by Caroline Arnold
Read pages 58-60 in The Geography Book, paying special attention to the definitions of islands, peninsulas, isthmuses, straits, bays, and fjords.
On the two "Where Land and Sea Meet" activity pages, define each term and use the space provided to draw an example (real or imagined) that illustrates each definition. Use the Geography of the World book to find at least one real-world example for each term, and write that example on the lines provided. You can look up the examples mentioned in The Geography Book or, to find some other examples, look up the terms in the index of Geography of the World. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also browse the maps in Geography of the World to find your own examples. Finally, write one sentence about each example that describes it, identifies its location, or explains something interesting about it.

Optional Extension
If you would like, use art supplies to create a map of an imaginary region that includes all of the terms that you've used in this lesson (island, peninsula, isthmus, strait, bay, and fjord). Be sure to give each feature a name and label your map. You may also enjoy completing the "Islands in a Tub" activity on page 60 of The Geography Book.
In this activity, your child will define several geographical features that occur where land and sea meet. She will then use the Geography of the World book to find real-world examples of each feature and write a sentence about each.

Depending on your child's interests and writing skills, you may wish to offer some further instruction about the kinds of sentences that you want your child to write about each real-world example. Some students may write something as straightforward as "Florida is a peninsula" while other students may write, "Florida is a peninsula that faces both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico." You can also extend this activity by inviting your child to conduct library or online research on each example in order to write a more detailed statement about each.

In an optional activity, your child can draw an imaginary region that might include all of these features or complete a hands-on activity from The Geography Book.

Activity 3: Mountains

Materials: Geography of the World by DK Publishing, The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World by Caroline Arnold, 7 index cards*, 7 sheets of brown or gray 9" x 12" construction paper*, Funnel, graph paper*, Large plate, small plate, and cup, Ruler*, Transparent tape*, White paint
Read pages 51-53 in The Geography Book to learn about the highest and lowest points on each continent. You can also look at the continent pages of Geography of the World (North America, pp. 20-21; Central and South America, pp. 40-41; Europe, pp. 78-79; Asia, pp. 132-133; Africa, pp. 204-205; Australasia and Oceania, pp. 254-255) to find the highest peak of each continent on a map and to learn more information about the mountains on each continent. You can also use the "Gazeteer" section at the back of Geography of the World to look up the locations of each specific mountain - "Gazeteer" is a useful feature of the book that will allow you to pinpoint the location of cities, rivers, mountains, and other features with ease.

Next, ask a parent which of the following activities you should complete:
Both activity options will allow your child to represent the heights of the tallest mountains on each continent visually.

Option 1

Use the "Mountain Heights" activity page to mark the heights of each mountain. Refer to the height information on page 51 of The Geography Book.
In Option 1, your child will use graph paper to chart the heights of different mountains. Students who are more mathematically inclined may prefer to chart the heights on graph paper.

Option 2

Follow the instructions on pages 52-53 of The Geography Book to make a paper model of some of the world's tallest mountains.
In Option 2, your child will create 3-D construction paper models that will not be exactly to scale, but will approximate the differences in height among the various mountains. Students who are hands-on learners might prefer making paper cone models.