Topography Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Students will learn why and how the earth's surface changes constantly and overtime. They will participate in a fun activity by reshaping a man-made surface of sand. Prior to the activity, they will watch a video and answer discussion questions.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define topography
  • identify factors that reshape topography
  • discuss how those factors affect topography


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.5

Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7

Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).



  • Begin by asking students if they live near mountains, a pond, lake, hill or cliff.
  • Allow students to respond, then ask those that do to describe any adventures they've had on these earth's surfaces.
  • Afterwards, explain that those surfaces are considered topography, and we'll learn more about it in this lesson.
  • Distribute a copy of the What Is Topography and How Is Topography Reshaped? lesson, play the video, pause at 02:06, then start the following discussion:
    • Define and explain mechanical weathering.
    • Describe mechanical weathering that you've witnessed in your area.
    • List triggers of mechanical weathering.
    • How is mechanical weathering different from chemical weathering?
    • What type of elements cause chemical weathering?
    • Explain how climate changes impact weathering.
  • Now restart the video, play until the end and pose these discussion points:
    • How does erosion occur?
    • Have you observed erosion? If so, explain.
    • Define sediment.
    • Explain the deposition of sediment.
    • What is a tsunami? Explain how it can reshape topography.
    • Can the factors that affect topography change its shape slow or fast? Explain.
  • Answer any remaining questions then show the lesson quiz and require students to complete in pairs to demonstrate learning.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account