Grades K-3 & 5

Lesson 1: Landforms – K-3

In the basic lesson (K-1), after reading the book “What is a Landform?” and looking at landform cards, students will learn the names and shapes of basic landforms by writing the name and drawing a picture of the landform. They will also practice the landform shapes by using their hands to represent the various shapes – For a MOUNTAIN, put the tips of both hands’ fingers together and form a sharp tall point. The teacher will also demonstrate a volcanic eruption for the students.

In the advanced lesson (2-3), the students will draw a picture of each landform, labeling each with its appropriate name and write the definition of each landform in a Landform Book of their creation. The students will build a landform (mountain, plain, river, valley, hill, volcano, ocean, or lake) out of salt dough (or whatever works for you such as modeling clay or play dough.)

Lesson 2: Layers of the Earth – Grade 2-3 (Basic) and Introduction to Plate Tectonics – Grade 5

In the basic lesson, after discussing and showing the students the different layers of the earth, they will use half an apple and identify the different layers of the earth that corresponds with the apples parts.

In the advanced lesson, after learning background information about plate tectonics, students will use a hardboiled egg to identify corresponding parts of the plate tectonic theory.


The Geology Demonstration Kit will help the instructor show the students the variety of different ways mountains are formed, how different types of earthquakes happen, and explain an erupting volcano. The handout found at the back of the binder explains how the foam, mountain blocks, and volcano can be used in the classroom. The instructor can adapt these demonstration devices to match the content in their class.

State Standards

4.1: Describe and give examples of Earth’s changing features

4.2: Describe the physical properties of the Earth’s materials

Equipment Provided in the Kit

  • Earth Layer Poster

  • Soft Earth Model and Manual

  • Mountain Demonstration Blocks

  • Foam Landform Demonstration and Tray

  • Volcano Demonstration

  • Geology Demonstration Kit Handout (back of binder)

  • Book: What Is a Landform? By Rebecca Rissman

  • Eight landform words

  • 7 sets of landform pictures

  • Earth Layer Cross Section

  • Earth Layer Diagram


Geology Landforms Lesson Plan Grades K-3
Geology Layers of the Earth Lesson plan Grades 2-3 and Introduction to Plate Tectonics Grade 5
Earth Layer Assessment
Earth’s Cross section
Earth’s Layer Diagram
Plate Tectonic Quiz

for more information:

Lauren Rivers, STEM Enrichment Director