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Landforms - what impact do people have on the land?

Context for this Lesson


Guiding questions: What are landforms to us? What impact do people have on the land?
Materials Needed: Headlines, large sheets of paper, markers


Graffiti Alphabet: The facilitator begins by dividing the group into their tribes. Each tribe is given a large blank piece of paper and a set of markers. Tribes are asked to explore the theme of “geography”( which is loosely and briefly defined as some of the topics we have been covering in class such as landforms, maps, and coordinates, ask for an example from the class) by generating a list of each which begin with a different letter of the alphabet e.g., the theme is the Weather and the group writes down the words: air, blustery, cloud, downpour . . . Students are encouraged to note their A-Z words in a graffiti style. The tribes may opt to use images instead of words where appropriate. If necessary the facilitator can provide a time limit to encourage engagement and immediacy with the group. The facilitator then brings the class together to process and reflect on each tribe’s lists or asks the students to share some of their words from their seats.

Reflection: ·

Describe: What do you see/notice? How did this group use the space? 

Analyze: What types of words do you notice? What images did groups use to represent words? What similarities and differences do you notice?

 Relate: What connections to our current studies in social studies do you see? What ‘landform’ words do you see? “Let’s circle all of the words that are landforms.”

Transition: These are fantastic lists! Now that we have some good vocabulary around landforms we are going to start thinking about how humans affect the land we live on or use for resources. As we write the headlines up on the board start thinking about how landforms are a part of your life.


Artifacts (Headlines) The facilitator writes up on the board several headlines containing examples of “Humans interaction with the land” such as wildfires, oil spills, mining, tree harvesting, etc. The students are asked to move through a line of questions that lead to a deep interrogation and discussion of the landforms affected in the headlines.


 Describe: What do you see? What do you notice? ·

Analyze: What instances of cause and effect in these headlines? What emotions are evoked by these headlines?

 Relate: How do these headlines relate to our discussion of landforms?

Now that we’ve explored and talked about how landforms are in the news, please turn to your tribe and discuss what kind of an impact people can have on landforms. Think about how this relates to where we live. How are we having direct affect on landforms? Share out: Students are asked to share some ideas from their groups in three words, these words are written on the board and kept up until the image worki is done the next class.

Transition: Now that we’ve brainstormed a list of ways that humans affect landforms I am going to introduce your homework assignment, which will move us into the next exciting part of this activity on Friday. Homework Assignment: Write A Headline The facilitator has the students write a headline that, based on their exploration today, could be one they would find in a newspaper about a landform. The students can use the words on the board as inspiration. Let them know those words will stay up until the next day because you’ll be using them for a special activity when they bring in their headlines.


Transition the next day: Thank you for bringing in your example headlines! Now we’re going to see what these would look like in pictures. In your tribes please pick one headline you wrote or a word from the board that you would like to work on together as a group. 

Stage Picture (group images) The facilitator asks the tribes to read the headline or word out loud. Together they should work together to sculpt an image that would help to illustrate their article. This image can include all of the tribe members or just a few. The facilitator should make sure that the group starts creating an image by one person stepping in at a time to slowly build a complete and interesting frozen picture. The students can then share these with the entire class. The facilitator leads the class through a line of questioning to help deepen the understanding and highlight the different perspectives in the class.


Describe: What are the students in this ‘sculpture’ doing with their legs? Their arms? Their faces?

Analyze: What do those poses and expressions tell you?

Relate: How does this sculpture relate to our discussion of landforms? How does our discussion of landforms relate to our lives?

Extensions/Applications : 

See above