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Three children, a white boy with blond hair, a Black girl, and a southeast Asian girl, stand in front of pictures of landscapes. They depict a desert, the ocean, a river, and a mountain.

The Earth’s surface is extremely diverse, no matter where you are in the world. It is composed of many different types of landforms and bodies of water, making each part of it unique. From small ponds to vast oceans, and tiny islands to enormous mountains, the land and water of our planet are truly fascinating to learn about. Landforms and bodies of water are natural features of the Earth’s surface that are formed over many years of erosion, weathering, and other earth forces.

Student Activities for Landforms and Bodies of Water

Essential Questions for Landforms and Bodies of Water

  1. What are the main types of landforms?
  2. What are the main types of bodies of water?
  3. How does the geography of where you live impact your life?

Types of Landforms

Landforms vary in size and shape, as well as elevation levels. Mountains, plains, and plateaus are the main types of landforms, but there are many more.

CanyonA deep narrow valley with steep sides and often with a stream flowing through it
Cape A point of land that extends out into the sea or a lake
DeltaWetland that forms as rivers empty their water and sediment into another body of water
Desert Dry land with few plants and little rainfall
GlacierA large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or valley or spreading outward on a land surface
Island An area of land surrounded by water and smaller than a continent
IsthmusA narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas
Mountain A large natural elevation of the earth's surface rising abruptly from the surrounding level; a large steep hill
PeninsulaA piece of land nearly surrounded by water or sticking out into the water
Plain A broad area of level or rolling treeless country
PlateauA broad, flat area of high land
Hill Rounded height of land lower than a mountain
Rainforest An often tropical woodland with a high annual rainfall and very tall evergreen trees with tops that form a continuous layer
Savannah A grassland (like in eastern Africa or northern South America) containing scattered trees
SwampAn area of land that is permanently saturated or filled with water
Valley An area of lowland between ranges of hills or mountains
VolcanoA vent in the earth's crust from which melted or hot rock and steam come out

Types of Bodies of Water

Bodies of water are important for many reasons, including transportation of goods, travel, erosion, and vegetation.

Body of WaterDefinition
BayA broad inlet of the sea where the land curves inward
Gulf A deep inlet of the sea almost surrounded by land, with a narrow mouth
LakeA large inland body of standing water
Ocean The whole body of saltwater that covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the earth
PondA body of water that is usually smaller than a lake
River A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another such stream
SeaThe expanse of salt water that covers most of the earth's surface and surrounds its landmasses
Strait A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two other large areas of water
StreamA small, narrow river
Waterfall A fall of water usually from a great height

How To Explain the Significance of Different Landforms and Bodies of Water


Use Basic Definitions

Define landforms (natural features of the Earth's surface) and water bodies (such as rivers, lakes, seas, etc.) to get started. Give each an example so that students may clearly grasp the concept. Teachers can use definitions from various dictionaries to help students understand different viewpoints to look at nature.


Utilize Visual Aids

Include maps, diagrams, and pictures to depict various landscapes and waterways. Students can better comprehend their relative placements and geography with the use of visual aids. Each landform and waterbody should be accompanied by a picture or a video as students can learn and retain better with the help of visual aids.


Discuss Case By Case

Give concrete examples from various areas or nations to demonstrate the importance of certain landforms or water bodies. These can be well-known mountain ranges, important rivers, or distinctive geological formations. While discussing different geographic aspects teachers can also integrate the elements of cultural and historical significance of this subject.


Discuss Usage

Explain to the students how different landforms and bodies of water are used in the world. For instance, many waterbodies are used for the purpose of trade, shipping, and cargo. Different types of landforms are necessary for farming, and growing different plants which are then used in medicines and other scientific experiments.


Recommend Knowledgeable Platforms

Teachers can recommend the students some books, movies, or simple YouTube videos which can help them understand the concept in an easier way. These videos can be a simple explanation of the types of landforms and waterbodies and their geography and significance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Landforms and Bodies of Water

Describe a landform.

A landform is a surface feature or shape that occurs naturally on the Earth. It has several different types of terrain, including mountains, valleys, plateaus, plains, and more. Landforms are located throughout the Earth in many different forms and are significant for many different purposes.

What causes landforms to develop?

Geological processes include erosion, weathering, tectonic plate movements, volcanic activity, and sedimentation predominantly shape landforms. This formation also impacts climates and it can take many years for a landform to develop.

Explain the formation of a waterfall.

Water falls from a high point to a lower point in a cascade. It is produced when a river pours over cliffs or rocks, producing a stunning and impressive show of water. Waterfalls are a famous sight all over the world and are significant for the purification of water and the entire ecosystem.

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