Lesson Plan: Our Amazing Earth!

Written By: Cathryn Teubner

Time Allotment

4 class periods (45 minutes each)


Students will:
  • be introduced to the various landforms and water features that make up the surface of the Earth. In particular, they will focus on landforms and water features found in the United States.
  • create a Landforms Dictionary.
  • create an art project using a coffee filter to show the parts of earth that contain water.
  • students will see a teacher demonstration of how much of the earth is available for habitation using an apple.
  • be introduced to topographical maps and use their knowledge to create a topographical map on their knuckles.
  • make an edible model of the earth’s layers.
  • our_amazing_earth.doc

    Learning Objectives

  • Students will define and classify Earth’s physical features including landforms and water features.
  • Students will define Earth’s layers.
  • Students will understand a topographic map.
  • Media Components - Video/Web

    1. Mr. DeMaio’s Lesson on Landforms- a fun youtube cartoon and photo video on landforms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWTDmg8OI_Y
    2. Quizlet lesson – students will use the terms from quizlet to complete their landforms dictionary: https://quizlet.com/class/1672350/
    3. Geographical terms- Landforms video: http://www.learn360.com/ShowVideo.aspx?fid=3372521&pid=1125998&type=Playlist&ugid=-1&ID=640074
    4. Scouting activity on topographical maps: http://www.scouterlife.com/2012/05/topographic-map-activity.html?m=1
    5. Topography and the Earth video: http://www.learn360.com/ShowVideo.aspx?fid=3372521&pid=1125998&type=Playlist&ugid=-1&ID=1219282
    6. Instructions for making Earth coffee filter art project: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/coffee-filter-earth-day-art/
    7. Instructions for An Apple as Planet Earth from COSI (Center for Science and Industry) on Howtosmile.org: http://howtosmile.org/record/13110 - this is a pdf but I have attached it in a Word document at the end of the lesson (page 6). As a side note, I have also done How are Soils Classified on page 7 of this document as well as Edible Soils on page 8, just because they are fun and science should be fun!
    8. Instructions for making Edible Earth from how to smile.org. I also included a word document with the instructions: http://howtosmile.org/record/4894


    • Teacher’s Guide: MacMillian/McGraw-Hill, Earth Science, A Closer Look, Grade 5, 2011, Our Dynamic Earth, Chapter 5 Lesson 1 Earth’s Landforms
    • For the Earth coffee filter art project- One of the following for each student: coffee filters, blue and green washable marker, large sheets of construction paper
    • For the landforms dictionary: 4 sheets of white copy paper for each students, markers
    • For the Apple as Planet Earth activity-1 apple, 1 knife- This is a teacher directed activity, students watch.
    • For Topographic Map activity- thin marker for each student
    • For Edible Earth model- 13 large marshmallows, 1 spice drop, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 cups crispy rice cereal, can of premade frosting (I used white frosting and tinted half blue and half green), large microwavable bowl, spatula or wooden spoon for mixing, paper plate, and of course access to a microwave. This makes one edible earth, so adjust for the number of students in your class or have students work in teams.

    Teacher Preparation

    1. Familiarize yourself with the lesson from the textbook.
    2. Cue up websites/videos
    3. Collect materials for journals, art project, cooking project

    Introductory Activities

    1. Begin by questioning the students on their prior knowledge. Does anyone know what a landform is? What are some landforms that you already know about? What landforms do we have where we live? What other landforms have you seen when traveling? Make a list of these on the board.
    2. Have students look at a globe. Ask them what would happen if they dug straight down. Discuss if that’s possible. Ask students their prior knowledge of the layers of the earth. Make a list of any terms students already know on the board.
    3. Tell the students they will be learning about landforms and the layers of the earth in their next Science chapter.

    4. Materials: globe

      Learning Activities

      Day 1
      Landforms Introduction and Landforms dictionary
      1. View the Learning About Landforms video. Have students compare the list the class created on the board to the list Mr. DeMaio talks about in the video.
      2. Make Landforms dictionary
        • Students will cut 4 sheets of white paper in half and staple together. Label title page.
        • Instruct students to log into quizlet. Have students label each page of book with landform term from the quizlet page. Students should sketch a drawing of that kind of landform and define the term. Students may use reference books, encyclopedias, text, or internet to help them.

      Materials: white paper, reference books, internet, markers or colored pencil, stapler
      Day 2
      1. Read and discuss Lesson 1 from Science text.
      2. Partner share the landforms dictionary students made yesterday.
      3. View Geographical Terms Landforms video on Learn 360.
        • Instruct students to pay special attention to the term “topography” or “topographical maps” while viewing the video.
      4. Photo of topographical map. Ask students if they know what the lines mean. Introduce term topography and topographical map.
      5. On white board, read over the scouting lesson on Topographical maps.
      6. Using washable marker, have students draw a topographical map on their knuckles.

      Materials: Science textbook, topographical map example, washable markers
      Day 3
      1. View video on Learn 360 Topography and the Earth
        • Tell students to be watching carefully to see what % of the earth is made up of water.
        • Tell students they will need to identify the name of 2 of earth’s layers at the end of the video. Students can have paper and pencil out to write down information identified while watching the video.
      2. Have students look at globes and maps. Discuss if there is more water or land on earth. Discuss what percentage of land on earth is available for people to use.
      3. Have students watch as teacher performs Apple as Planet Earth from COSI (attached (page 5) or log into Howtosmile.org)
      4. Art Activity- Instructions for this are #6 Digital Media Components
        • Using coffee filters and washable blue and green markers color coffee filter to resemble globe.
        • Using spray bottle, wet coffee filter with water so that colors run. Allow to dry.
        • Review facts about water and the earth and jot those on the board.
        • Instruct students to write down interesting facts learned about water and the earth on a 12x18 sheet of construction paper leaving room to glue the coffee filter somewhere on the sheet.
        • These make a nice colorful display in the hallway. I have attached an example of one that we did.

      Materials: maps, globe, apple, knife, spray bottle, coffee filters, blue and green washable markers.

      Culminating Activity

      1. Review and discuss the terms learned yesterday in the 360 video- crust, mantle, inner and outer core.
      2. You will need access to a microwave and table space. We did this in the school lunchroom. Make friends with the cook before you do this activity. It is fun, but it is messy!
      3. Detailed instructions for this project can be found in #8 Digital Media Components or in Word document below.
        • Under teacher guidance, have students create an edible earth. If you have a small class, it is fun for each student to make their own. Otherwise, you could do this project in small groups.
        • Reviewing terms studied (mantle, core, crust, etc.) while making this project helps reinforce learning.

      Materials: microwave, measuring cups, paper plates, microwavable bowl, wooden spoon for stirring, marshmallows, spice drops, butter, crispy rice cereal, frosting for the “crust”(directions call for Magic Shell, but I tried this and it was messy and didn’t work well)

      Cross-Curricular Activity

    5. Students could create a poem about the layers of earth.
    6. Students could write a play using specific landforms in the setting and present it to a younger grade.
    7. Students could half, double, triple, etc. the recipe for the edible earth project.
    8. Students could plot major landforms in a map of the state they live in or a state they’d like to visit.

    9. Materials: paper, maps, calculators

      Community Connections

    10. Students could set up the projects that they have done in the hallway at Parent Teacher conferences so that parents and other classes could view them.
    11. Students could email visitors bureaus in other states to get information about landforms in other states.

    12. Materials: computer/internet