Earth Surface Features Teacher Resources
Find Earth Surface Features educational ideas and activities
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US Geography: The Midwest
Young scholars investigate the geography and agricultural products of the Midwestern United States. In this US geography instructional activity, students watch and discuss a video that depicts the Midwest of the US as the breadbasket of the country. They make billboards which advertise an agricultural product that would be associated with this part of the country.
Exploring the World's Geography
Young scholars discuss the seven continents of Earth and the diverse geography. After discussion, they create their own paper-mache globes which properly display all seven continents, the equator, and the prime meridian. They conduct research about the seven continents and examine maps before completing the project.
Geologic Landforms Seen on Aerial Photos
Students are introduced to the basic geological landforms. Using aerial photographs, they answer questions on a worksheet to determine which geological process created the specific landform. They discuss their answers with the class to end the lesson.
Fifth graders research the concept of how tectonic plates float and move on the lithosphere. They create a model of the earth's plates and design another earthquake damage prevention model.
Maps as Models of Earth
Eighth graders use different types of maps to find locations and surface features. For this map-reading lesson students use a compass to find direction.
Reflections on Earth: Exploring Planet Earth from Space
Students examine satellite images of Earth and contrast images at different scales. In this exploring Earth from space lesson plan, students use satellite images to contrast images at different scales, calculate distances from the scale of an image, describe a false-color image of Earth and explore how scientists use satellite images to observe changes on Earth.
Geology: History of Earth
Students explore the history of the Earth and the study of geology. They explain the different time periods in the history of the Earth. Students create a salt and flour map of the Earth as it was during their time period. They research the time periods that are assigned to them.
Tear the Continents
Students tear paper into representative continent shapes and configure them with world oceans through relative location, direction and latitude and longitude starting points. They recognize the shape of the continents. Students recognize the location of the continents with respect to each other and the Prime Meridian and the Eqautor. Students identify the continents and major world oceans by name.
Earth's Water Cycle
National Geographic's MapMaker Interactive is a wonderful tool to use when introducing your hydrologists to the water cycle. Show your class Earth's oceans and the movement of water from place to place. Then, using a large colorful diagram, show them the movement of water from the surface to the atmosphere. Bring the lesson home by returning to the MapMaker to locate your city and examine the local features that transport water. Close by giving the classic assignment of writing a story about a water-droplet's journey through the water cycle. The MapMaker feature boosts this lesson up above average.
New! Earth's Water
If the majority of our planet is covered with water, why do we need to bother conserving it? With a thorough and varied investigation into the location and types of water on the earth, learners will gain an understanding of why this resource is so precious. By creating a liquid scale model, then examining and coloring maps, and finishing up with a discussion, kids should grasp that just a small fraction of the earth's water is drinkable, and should therefore be conserved.
Tall as a Mountain, Flat as a Plain
Students examine pictures of various landforms before placing them on a chart under the appropriate label.They sing songs about landforms to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain." Next, they use non-edible baker's dough to make a model of one of the landforms.
The Impact of Climate Change on the Mountain Pine Beetle and Westerns Forests
In the Western Forests there lives a beetle, a mountain pine beetle. Explore the ways in which a once manageable beetle population has grown to unmanageable numbers because of climate change in forest regions. After examining case study documents and a video, the class engages in a discussion on the potential versus actual impact of climate change on forest beetle population. Several great web links and extension activities are suggested to add to or augment the learning experience.
Visualizing Plate Movement
Students analyze fault data from Plate Boundary Observatory. In this earth science lesson, students use Google Earth to download data from PBO. They explain the magnitude of plate movements using the vector arrows on the map.
Plate Tectonics Day 4 Earth's Interior Structure and Convection Currents
Students introduced to the interior structure of the Earth. They explore how the Earth's interior is broken down according to both it's physical properties and it's chemical composition. Students explore how convection currents within the Earth's mantel drive plate tectonics.
The Living Earth
Students discuss glaciers and write a definition for a glacier as a class. After discussion, they participate in an activity that demonstrates how glaciers can cause dramatic changes and create new landforms. Groups discuss their results with the remainder of the class.
There is one page of teacher preparation and notes on this PowerPoint. The remaining 27 slides are designed to reinforce student knowledge of plate tectonics. The last slide has 10 questions that can be posed to the class. This is a fabulous PowerPoint with all of the details needed to review a complete unit. Some great images and diagrams are included to illustrate examples or to show names and detailed facts.
Rivers, Maps, and Math
Students use maps to locate and label the major rivers of North and South America. Using the internet, they identify forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and other landforms on the continents as well. They compare and contrast the lengths of the Amazon, Mississippi and other river systems.
Tall as a Mountain, Flat as a Plain
Students examine a variety of landforms that are found on the Earth and compare and contrast the distinguishing qualities of these forms. A topographical model of the landforms is made.
Structure of the Earth
Eighth graders examine the forces that are constantly acting on the Earth. They describe the theory of tectonic plates and demonstrate the two kinds of earthquake waves. They also examine the role of volcanoes in the structure of the Earth.
Tall as a Mountain, Flat as a Plain
Students determine the names of various landforms and design a model of one. In this landforms lesson, examine a topographic globe by passing it around and feeling its surface. They sing a variation of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" before making a model of one of the landforms found on the globe.