Lesson plan

Mountain landforms and their erosion

Build models of mountains from a simple contour map, read contour lines on a large map, then use sand and water to show how erosion shapes landforms.
Science content
Earth/Space: Landforms, Erosion (3)
Activities in this lesson

Sit around a paper contour map of local mountains/hills e.g. Vancouver North Shore.
Map with heights also coloured: The colours help us see the heights, but we don't need it with the lines, or contours. The shape of the lines show the shape of the land.

You'll build a model of a mountain from a contour map.
Demonstrate then run Landform models.

As students make their model they bring it, and their corresponding contour map to the tarp, and lay them down to build two identical landscapes - one of the landform models and one of the corresponding contour maps.
As a class, look at the landscape and the contour maps. Refer back and forth while discussing and highlighting features of a contour map
e.g. When lines are close together, a slop is steep
e.g. When lines are far apart, a slope rises gradually
e.g. A valley forms between slopes, and the contour lines go up and back across the valley
e.g. a bay, a peninsular, a cliff
Refer back to the local paper map, and find these landform features.

Explain that Erosion makes these shapes in the land.
Water, ice and wind wear away parts of the land to make valleys and other landform shapes.

Watch erosion in action with the sand and water erosion activity, at table groups of four, or as a demonstration.
Note that the Erosion model is sped up a lot - valleys form over thousands or millions of year (depending on the rock type).

Maps needs to constantly change as the landscape changes.

Grades taught
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4