Landforms, which are the natural features of the surface of Earth, are the major topic that derives from the theme of Earth. Different landforms form various lifestyles and civilization, which helps children to understand diversity better. Up until now, we have learnt about island and lake, mountain and volcano, forest and rainforest, river and pond. Some of them refer to different bodies of water while others involve various landform types. The specific learning outcome we are promoting during this month is Learning Outcome 5.4 – children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.
If you look at the symbol of an island and a lake, you can find them somehow opposite. An island is a piece of land surrounded by water on all sides while a lake is a large body of water surrounded by land. We explored these concepts through painting, playdough, and creating them on the sand table. We also referred to our world map to see which countries are actually islands. And we found out that New Zealand, Japan, England, Singapore are the typical ones made of islands. Tasmania is part of Australia but it is separated from the big continent.
Mountains are landforms that stick up high above the surrounding land. They are much taller than hills and are made of rocks. Mountains can often be found together in groups or mountain ranges. We explored the most famous mountains in the world through the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01qzgULTduQ&t=38s
The hands-on activity is making a massive mountain range with the Plaster of Paris (PoP)! First, we cut the polyfoam into different-sized squares and piled them up from the biggest to smallest. These piles give the basic shape of the three mountains.
Then we mixed the PoP with water and applied it onto the mountains, which provided the rocklike texture after drying. During this stage, we also used paper towels to cover the surface of the mountains and the land between them. We then allowed 24 hours for drying. After that, we painted and decorated to finish our mountains.
This co-creation is an excellent group learning activity as it offers everyone a chance to learn through making. Later, we put the most famous mountains onto the world map by drawing many little brown triangles with a bit white on top. This practiced children’s fine motor skills as manipulating the pencils requires children to conduct smaller movements in the wrists, hands, and fingers.
A volcano is a landform (usually a mountain) where molten rock erupts through the surface of the planet. A science experiment was introduced to explore the eruption of a volcano. We got a bucket of sand from the sandpit and placed a paper cup in the middle of the pile. Then we mixed water with some baking soda and added several drops of red food coloring.
The last step was pouring the white vinegar into the mixed liquid, causing an eruption and excitement among all children! Basically, the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide that spreads out. In order to help children see clearly, we put a balloon containing baking soda on top of a bottle. Within the bottle, there was white vinegar mixed with water. Once we pulled the balloon straight up, the baking soda was dissolved into the liquid and generated the gas which blew the balloon up.
A forest is a piece of land filled with many trees. Forests are one of the most common and most important kinds of landforms on our earth. Many plants and animals live in forests. In terms of the rainforest, you can probably tell from the name that rainforests have a whole lot of two things: forest (or trees) and rain. It is true that rainforests get more rain than any other place on Earth.
The key concept we were focusing on here is the biodiversity, which implied the significance of trees and forests. So children were not only engaged with painting of trees, but also provided with an opportunity to do the forest spelling song with a range of animals, including deer, bears, salmon, owls, and skunks. Here is the link of the video:
In addition to the waterbodies, we discovered river and pond. A river is a flowing moving stream of water. It usually feeds water into an ocean, lake, pond, or even another river. Rivers can be big or small. Pond is a body of water surrounded by land, but smaller than a lake. We have learnt interesting facts about the longest and the most famous rivers in each continent through the video from ‘Geography Explorer’. If you would like to check on it, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8FrY4tGgnY
We enjoyed the storybook “the Pig in the Pond” to discover how a pond looks like and the animals living in the pond. At last, I created a poster with all children to represent their learning and understanding of the sources of water. This could work as a quick reference for children to come back and recall all the facts.