Shaping the Lay of the Land
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Landscapes are always changing, sometimes this change occurs very slowly and sometime it can happen very quickly. Factors such as earthquakes, weather, geologic activity such as plate movement, flooding, and others play an important role in shaping landscapes. Students should be familiar with these processes that shape the land before doing this exercise. This exercise will let the students apply what they have learned when they look at photos of landscapes in Idaho and decide what types of processes shaped the landscape in each case.

Encourage your students to use the historical geography section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho. For explanations on the landscape shaping processes use the following places in the Digital Atlas of Idaho. Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Geology, then click on Earthquakes, Parks and Monuments, and Glaciers. Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Hydrology, then click on Lake Bonneville Flood and Ground & Surface Water Concepts.

Have your students select 5 pictures, either from the main map or they can scroll down and select from the archive listing. Teachers can also assign particular pictures to students if desired. Have your students describe what they are looking at and describe what they think the main influences were in creating the landscape (flooding, volcanic flows, rain, etc). Encourage your students to state why they came to the conclusions that they did. Point out that there can be more than one answer.

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Earthquakes | Parks and Monuments | Glaciers | Lake Bonneville Flood | Ground & Surface Water Concepts

Related Lesson Topics:
Extra Topics: Extra Topics

Lesson plan by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: