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Physical Geography Classroom Activities

Instructor: Caitlin Ferraiolo Brady

Caitlin is a sixth grade geography teacher in Connecticut. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Techonology.

Make learning about the physical features of our world fun and engaging! The following is a list of activities to teach and review the physical features (landforms and bodies of water) of our Earth.

What is Physical Geography?

Physical geography is the study of the natural world. Physical geographers examine all of the landforms and bodies of water on our Earth, studying what they look like and how they are formed.

Examples of Physical Features

The activities described below refer to the physical features of our Earth. The following are examples of the landforms and bodies of water that can be the subjects of the games provided:

Landforms

  • Peninsula
  • Archipelago
  • Mountain
  • Mountain Range or Chain
  • Valley
  • Isthmus
  • Plain
  • Island
  • Basin
  • Desert
  • Plateau

Bodies of Water

  • Strait
  • Gulf
  • Bay
  • Sea
  • Ocean
  • Delta
  • River
  • Canal
  • Lake
  • Waterfall

There are many other landforms and bodies of water that you can include, but these are some of the most common around the world and are a good place to start!

Play dough Landforms

Materials

  • A container of play dough for each student (green if you have it!)
  • Pictures of a variety of landforms

Preparation

  • None

Activity

  • This activity can be done either as an introduction to the shape of various landforms or as a review. Give each child their own container of play dough. If you are doing this as an introduction, show an image of a landform (peninsula, island, archipelago, mountain, etc.)
  • Ask the students to describe the landform they see and use the characteristics they have described to create that landform out of their play dough.
  • Have students hold up their creations to share their work. If you are using this activity as a review, have the students create the desired landform out of play dough first. Then, show the image so students can check their own work.

Physical Feature Models

Materials

  • Green craft foam or yoga mat
  • Blue plastic table cover or tarp
  • Pre made landform and body of water labels
  • Timer (optional)

Preparation

  • Using the green foam to represent land and blue plastic to represent water, create a variety of simple physical feature models.
  • For example, take a piece of the green foam, cut out a hole in the center of the piece, glue blue plastic to the underside, and you have created a lake.
  • For other examples, cut a peninsula shape and several island shapes out of green foam. Glue them to separate blue plastic pieces to make an island, an archipelago, and a peninsula.

Activity

  • Place your physical feature models on a table and cover them with an opaque table cover so they are hidden.
  • Give students the pre made labels with the names of the different physical features you have created. When you remove the cover, students race to label the features appropriately. You can time them and have small groups work to beat the winning time, or have them work together to check their work.

Landform Password

Materials

  • Landform and body of water flash cards

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