Saturday, September 18, 2010

Teaching Landforms

The social studies teacher in the high school has often bemoaned to me the lack of geographical knowledge of his students, particularly in recognition of landforms. Part of this is because the students have experience with very few landforms here in Point Hope. As the middle school social studies teacher, I've been trying to figure out a way that will help my students remember these things.

I inherited some shallow bins from teachers who previously occupied my classroom, so I decided to put those to use. They were each about 15"x24". I filled them each about 1/4 full of the little gravel that's very abundant in Point Hope. During class, I put them into groups of about 3 and went through each of the landforms we were studying and had them make them. The students got really into it. I then quizzed them, and they got really excited.

The one problem was that we didn't get to this activity until the day after I got the gravel, so it was very dry and dusty. The air filled with dust, and some students complained about skin irritation after dealing with it for a while. If it had been slightly damp, it would have solved both problems, I think. Also, I think it would have been better with sand or possibly play dough. I would be partial to sand, however, because it is a lot more land-like, so I think it would make a more lasting impression.


  1. Great idea....I think any time you have a "hands on" activity with reluctant learners of any age you have a success. They will remember it a lot longer!!!

  2. What a good idea! That will not just help the reluctant learners, but the ones who learn kinesthetically.