Login or Register

800.334.5551 Live Chat (offline)

Soil and Water

By Marsha Jones
Curriculum Developer

Activity 1: My Land Book (My Water Book, My Land and Water Book)

Adapted from the Building Blocks of Science® Kindergarten unit, Digging Earth Materials

Activity Grade Level: Grades K–1

What landforms and bodies of water are outside the classroom door? Make a book! Is going to the beach a common experience for your students? Make a Beach Book. Do tall, snow-capped mountains fill the classroom window? Make a Mountain Book. Got frogs jumping in the lake on the west side of the city? Make a Land and Water Book.


Activity objectives

  1. Develop an awareness of local landforms and bodies of water
  2. Recognize the characteristics of local landforms and/or bodies of water

Teacher background information

Landforms

A landform is a naturally created solid feature found on the surface of the earth. There are many ways to define landforms. For some, shape may be the defining characteristic, as is the case with a butte, a rock formation with a flat top and steep sides. The landform may be defined by location, as with a valley, a low place situated between 2 hills or mountains. Size may play a role as well. Mountains and hills are both raised features, but a mountain is much larger and higher than a hill.

Landforms are created through natural earth processes. For example, the force of flowing water carves canyons through solid rock. Many islands were created by volcanic eruptions. Sand dunes in the desert or at the beach are constantly shaped and reshaped by blowing winds.

Human-made features are not considered landforms. Even though humans may fill in wetlands, cut down forests, or build dams, our transformations of the land are artificial.


Bodies of water

Lakes may be as huge as the Great Lakes or as modest as your local swimming pond, yet they are all bodies of water surrounded by land on all sides. A river is a large body of flowing water that usually empties into an ocean. Smaller tributaries that flow into rivers are brooks and streams. The largest mass of freshwater on earth, by far, is the ice that covers most of Antarctica.


Teacher directions

My Land Book (My Water Book, My Land and Water Book)

Encourage students to make a book of their favorite local landform or body of water. For example, if going to the beach is a common experience for your youngsters, they might enjoy making a Beach Book. Others may wish to create a Mountain Book or a Lake Book.

Here’s how:

  1. Cut out 7 shapes that relate to the landform or body of water chosen—1 for the cover and 6 for writing and drawing. For example, circles (like a beach ball) or triangles (to be made into mountains). Inside your book, set up 6 pages with space for writing and drawing.

    You might use these sentence starters:
    • Page 1: I see _______________
    • Page 2: I feel _______________
    • Page 3: I hear _______________
    • Page 4: I drink _______________
    • Page 5: I play in ______________
    • Page 6: (Blank for students' own ideas.)
  2. After students complete the sentence starters, guide them to complete the cover. Expect the cover drawings to include details from the pages of the books.
  3. Give students the opportunity to share their books.
  4. As a follow-up, consider the following sentences. You may choose to have students do this as a class and record their responses on a class chart, or have students complete the sentences individually, recording their own responses in their science notebooks.
    • Today I found out ________________.
    • Now I wonder ___________________.

Activity 2: 3-D Landforms

Adapted from the Science Magnifier™, Primary (yellow dot)

Activity Grade Level: 2–3

Take a look outside. What landforms can students see? What landforms are in your community, town, city, and/or region? Is your community surrounded by rolling hills, snow-covered mountain peaks, desert sand dunes? Use materials found in the classroom and brought from home to build a 3-D model of local landforms.


Teacher background information

Landforms

A landform is a naturally created, solid feature found on the surface of the earth. There are many ways to define landforms. For some, shape may be the defining characteristic, as is the case with a butte, a rock formation with a flat top and steep sides. The landform may be defined by location, as with a valley, a low place situated between 2 hills or mountains. Size may play a role as well. Mountains and hills are both raised features, but a mountain is much larger and higher than a hill.

Landforms are created through natural earth processes. For example, the force of flowing water carves canyons through solid rock. Many islands were created by volcanic eruptions. Sand dunes in the desert or at the beach are constantly shaped and reshaped by blowing winds.

Human-made features are not considered landforms. Even though humans may fill in wetlands, cut down forests, or build dams, our transformations of the land are artificial.


Bodies of water

Lakes may be as huge as the Great Lakes or as modest as your local swimming pond, yet they are all bodies of water surrounded by land on all sides. A river is a large body of flowing water that usually empties into an ocean. Smaller tributaries that flow into rivers are brooks and streams. The largest mass of freshwater on earth, by far, is the ice that covers most of Antarctica.


Glad Scientist: 3-D Landforms Activity

Activity is found in the Science Magnifier™, Primary Level (yellow dot) on page 137, Landforms. See "Earth and Its Landforms," beginning on page 134 of the Science Magnifier™ for additional information and resources for students.


Activity 3: Earth and its Landforms (graphic novel story)

Adapted from the Science Magnifier™, Intermediate (blue dot)

Activity Grade Level: 4–5

Find out more about glaciers with the Science Kids, Will and Kari. The graphic novel story poses questions about glaciers. A reproducible activity sheet guides students to build on what they have read.


Teacher directions

  1. Provide students with access to the graphic novel story. Whiteboard and/or computer access work well.
  2. Use the questions listed below to spark a class discussion of the story and/or have students answer them in their science notebooks.

Questions

  1. What do you know about glaciers?
  2. Compare Kari’s movement with a glacier’s movement. What might be the same? What’s different?
  3. Write (and/or discuss) 2 ideas Kari told Will about glaciers.
  4. Look at the landforms in the background of the graphic novel story. Where may glaciers be found today? Why do you think so? How can you find out?
  5. Why are glaciers important to life on earth?
  6. Write (and/or discuss) 1 question you have about glaciers.

Activity 4: Rock Teams, Huddle Up!

Adapted from the Science Magnifier™, Intermediate (blue dot)

Activity Grade Level: 4–5

Hey, calling all rock collectors! Recruit “players” for at least 2 “teams.” Students collect rocks and sort by student-generated rules. Each set of rocks is a “team.” Which team would you expect to have the most “players”? Igneous? Sedimentary? Metamorphic?


Activity objectives

  1. Sort rocks by student-generated rules
  2. Begin to look for characteristics that may identify a rock as metamorphic, igneous, or sedimentary

Student background information

There are 3 main types of rocks, and each is formed in a different way. Let’s take a closer look at each type of rock:


Igneous rock

Igneous rock is formed from lava that erupts from a volcano. The temperature deep below earth’s surface can reach 1,100° C (2,120° F) or more. At that temperature, rocks are hot enough to melt and mix together. The melted rock is called magma. A volcanic eruption often ejects magma above the ground. Magma that reaches earth’s surface is called lava. This lava then cools and hardens into igneous rock. When lava cools quickly, it forms volcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks have small mineral grains. When magma cools slowly, it forms plutonic rocks. Plutonic rocks have large mineral grains.


Sedimentary rock

Sedimentary rock is made up of layers of sediment. Sediment contains minerals, rocks, and fossils that have been squeezed together over millions of years. If you look closely at this kind of rock, you might see the different layers of sediment that cemented together over millions of years.


Metamorphic rock

When heat and pressure below earth’s surface melt and squeeze igneous or sedimentary rock for a very long time, a new type of rock forms. This new rock is called metamorphic rock. The word metamorphic means “change of form.” Heat and pressure are powerful forces. Over time, heat and pressure can change igneous or sedimentary rock into metamorphic rock.


Student Resources: The Rock Cycle

Adapted from the Science Magnifier™, Intermediate (blue dot)

Activity Grade Level: 4–5

The Team Rock Stars explore more about igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Students use the diagram to support and explain the rock samples found in student and/or classroom rock collections.


Curriculum connections

Carolina Biological Supply

© Carolina Biological Supply Company

2700 York Road, Burlington, NC 27215-3398 • 800.334.5551