Landforms are natural formations, or units, found on Earth. A landform is as huge as a continent or a mountain range, or as small as a garden pond or a hill. Children may struggle to grasp the concept of a landform but with practical projects the subject becomes clearer. Teach landform ideas through geography, craft, art, dance and music.
Research and presentations
Divide children into pairs or small groups. Each group has one landform and uses encyclopaedias, textbooks and websites as resources to research the landform’s features and location, how it was made, why it is important, and some interesting facts. The children create a display relating to the landform, or a landform dictionary with a page for each landform, its definition and the research information. Each group presents their findings to the rest of the class.
One of the best ways to teach landforms is to create 3D landform models. Modelling clay is a good material to use. Give each group of children a different landform and pictures or books showing its features. The children create models in green and brown clay on a thick cardboard base, using toy houses or trees to add interest. Or you could make edible landform models. Cut cake into the form of mountains or volcanoes, use blue jelly for lakes and ponds, and decorate the landforms with parsley trees, icing snow and sweet animals.
Travel and tourism
Create landform “postcards” with a group of children to demonstrate the importance of a particularly famous landform. Download a picture of a famous landform like the Grand Canyon, the Sahara Desert, or the Rocky Mountains, cut an image from a magazine or from a travel brochure. Stick the image to cardboard and underneath add detail about the landform and why it is special. Or create travel brochures with pictures of famous landforms and descriptions to encourage holidaymakers to visit.
Demonstrate different landforms by making 3D layered booklets. Start with a layer of brown paper cut to form the shape of mountains. Put a layer of green card in front, cut to form hills that are smaller than the mountains. Layer blue paper on top to create water. Finish with a strip of yellow paper on top to make a desert or plain. Younger children can fill in the outline of landforms with collage materials like glitter, paper, wool and magazine images. Make pop-up cards with a pop-up mountain or volcano in the centre.
Music and movement
Get creative and teach children about landforms through dance and drama. Call out the name of a landform and the children make movements that go with the landform, for example, making a mountain shape with their arms or wriggling to represent a river. Get the children to use their imaginations and walk or dance like a hill, a valley, or a lake. Use music to make the activity more fun.