Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lesson Plan & Scavenger Hunt: Landforms

This lesson was originally used with lesson 1.4 of "Social Studies Alive!" but can be used with any Social Studies program.  Scavenger Hunt materials can be located on our Teachers Pay Teachers Page!

Subject: Social Studies
Grade: 5th

Title: Landforms Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Integration of Learning Outcomes

· Students will be able to define geographic terms for water and landforms by completing a graphic organizer.

· Students will be able to notice the differences between certain landforms and bodies of water by using an interactive Power Point.

· Students will be able to act out or draw geographic terms relating to water and landforms with a partner.


· 7.1.5.B: Describe and locate places and regions as defined by physical and human features.

· 7.2.5.A: Describe the characteristics of places and regions.

· E05.B-V.4: Vocabulary acquisition and use

· R5.A.1.1.1: Identify and/or interpret meaning of multiple-meaning words used in text.

Anticipatory Set

· Read the “Landform” acrostic poem on the PowerPoint.

· Have students discuss in their small groups what a landform might be, based on the poem. Also have the students discuss what might be examples of landforms and water, based on the poem.

· Explain that we will be learning about these terms and landforms through a virtual slide show.


· Each student will receive a laptop or work on a desktop computer. Every student will receive a “1.4 Landforms Scavenger Hunt” graphic organizer.

· Students will go through a virtual Scavenger Hunt created through PowerPoint.

· The teacher will have already uploaded the virtual Scavenger Hunt to the teacher’s school webpage.

· Project the computer onto the whiteboard. Show the students how to get to the webpage and open the PowerPoint. Have students follow along and follow the steps that the teacher completes. Walk around and monitor to make sure students get to the right page.

· Explain the graphic organizer (“1.4 Landforms Scavenger Hunt” worksheet). Explain that students will fill out the worksheet based on what they read in the slide. Show the directions on the slide. Model how to click on the different landforms and bodies and water. Show that the home screen will take the students back to the landform map so that students can finish the worksheet. Mention that some slides have videos and challenge questions. Students do not need to write the answers for challenge questions; they are just questions to think about.

· Have students go through the virtual scavenger hunt and complete the graphic organizer. Although each student will have a computer and worksheet, they may work with a partner to discuss the answers.

· If students finish the computer activity and if time permits, they can start working on activity 1C (p. 4) in their Interactive Student Notebook. Students will work independently to answer the questions. Students will answer questions by labeling the correct location on the map with the question number and answer. Each student will be given a card with a clue. Each clue has a number. The answer will be labeled on the map, using the number from the clue card and the answer. Lay extra cards on table. When students need a new card, they will trade at the table until they get all 14 clues.


· The graphic organizer will help all students follow along and know what to look for when completing the activity. The way it is separated with a word bank will also help students who need extra assistance.

· Acting out and drawing terms will help kinesthetic and visual learners. Movement can help students learn, as well as art can help people learn.

· Working with technology and using the Power Point will help 21st century learners.

· Students are able to work in pairs. By working with a partner, students can build ideas off each other. Also, if they need extra assistance, they can get extra help from their peers.


· Students will play Geography Charades/Pictionary with their table. They will act out or draw the vocabulary word of the landform or body or water. The vocabulary words will be the words learned from the virtual scavenger hunt. Project the map on the board so that students know which words to refer to. Two people will be on a team per each table.

Formative/Summative Assessment

· The teacher will walk around the classroom and observe while the students are completing the virtual activity.

· Collect the “1.4 Landforms Scavenger Hunt” worksheet. The worksheet will be graded out of 15 points. Students will receive a point for each question that is answered correctly. Students may receive half-credit for two-part questions if one of the choices is incorrect.


·  Laptops/Desktop computers

· Power Point (1.4 Landforms) linked to classroom website

· Internet access

· “1.4 Landforms Scavenger Hunt” graphic organizer

· Social Studies Alive! Student Interactive Notebook

· 1.4 Student Interactive Notebook cards

· Headphones

· Teacher webpage


· Laptops/Desktop computers

· Power Point (1.4 Landforms)

· Linked Power Point to classroom website

· Internet access

· Headphones

· Teacher webpage

Reflection on Planning

When I saw the landform map in the Interactive Student Notebook, I quickly envisioned a virtual way that the information could pop up by clicking on a map.  I thought that an interactive activity would capture students’ attention.  I remembered creating a virtual scavenger hunt for a social studies lesson in the past, and wanted to apply that idea to this lesson.  I decided to make a Power Point where students would be able to learn information through the computer.  I also wanted to incorporate information and activities from other websites, so students could obtain information than beyond what was in the textbook.  On my Power Point, I wanted students to be able to see real life pictures of the vocabulary terms instead of a map version.

Many students in today’s day and age are 21st century learners, so it is a teacher’s job to cater to those students.  I catered to those 21st century learners through the implementation of computer usage.  Students learn critical thinking skills and learn to collaborate through technology.  Not only are more individuals using technology for their personal uses, more and more jobs are incorporating technology; therefore it is important to prepare students for these real life situations that require technology.  (“Framework”)

I didn’t want the students to just quickly click through the Power Point; thus, I decided to have a graphic organizer to go along with it.  By using the worksheet, students will be able to pick out the important information that they need to know.  It will also keep their information organized.


"Framework for 21st Century Learning." Partnership for 21st Century Skills. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2014. <>.

Reflection on Instruction:

This is a real life reflection on the lesson. The moral of the story is that sometimes technology fails, but don't let that take away from a good lesson. You can make it work!

Day 1: It would be easy to call today’s lesson a complete and utter failure, but I will call it a learning experience.  To make a long story short, the technology completely backfired.  The lesson called for students to use computers, but the problem was that the computers took the whole entire class period just to log on and open the Power Point.  In some defense, the class period was shortened due to a drill, but it still took entirely too long just to get onto the computers.  It was at no fault to the students or me; the computers were simply extremely slow.  It’s safe to say I learned the hard way that technology doesn’t always work.  It is certainly as risky as I have heard.

At one point, I tried to have the students close their laptops so we could do the assignment on the board together, since the board was the only technology that was working properly.  However, the students were distracted and just wanted to get their computers working.  We managed to get through the first three questions on the worksheet before it was time to put the computers away for good.  At least we went through the poem in the anticipatory set and got through a few questions, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time (although most of the class was time wasted).

I could scratch this lesson altogether for my next class, which would make perfect sense because of the way things ran today.  However, I’m not going to give up that easily; I’m going to make some adjustments.  We had the technology specialist come to the room during our planning period to take a look at the laptops.  He discovered how slow they were.  We decided that we would start up the computers at the very beginning of the day.  The computers will already be booted up when students receive the laptops, which will save some time.  Students will just have to log on.  Once students are logged on, they can go into their file and open the Power Point.  This will be much quicker than waiting for the Internet to load.  My mentor teacher dropped the Power Point individually into each of the students’ files.  Once again, this will save some more time.  We will do the Landform poem while the students are waiting for their computer to log in.  This way, the students will be occupied and actually learning while their computers are slowly starting up.  Students will get their computers as soon as socially studies starts in order to log on quickly.

I plan on having a student test the program in the morning before school.  If it doesn’t work in the morning, I will do the activity as a class on the Promethean Board.  It won’t be as hands-on, but at least the students will get through the activity and learn about landforms and landmasses.  If the program ends up working, but a few students have troubles with their laptops, then I will have them share a computer with a partner.

If the lesson goes as planned, it has the potential to be awesome.  However, technology is the only thing that stands in the way.  Hopefully those few adjustments will work and take two will be better.  I’m glad I didn’t completely quit this lesson; it could’ve been easy to give up, but I will persevere… for now.

Day 2: Today’s lesson was much better than yesterday’s.  I turned on the computers ahead of time and also had some students log on and open the program during their free time.  This made the lesson so much more successful as students were able to start the assignment on time.

The students absolutely loved that they could use the computers.  They were so engaged. Not a single student was off task.  I even overheard a student say, “Wow, this is so cool!”  Even the students who tend to avoid doing work were participating in the activity.  At other points during the day, students were asking when they would be able to use the computers again.

Students finished the activity much sooner than I expected.  Luckily, I had an extra activity planned.  Students completed activity 1C in their notebooks.  I allowed students to use the Power Point on the laptops as a resource.  They were able to move through the notebook activity quicker than the ones in the past because they had an additional resource.  A couple of students finished, so I had them help those who were still working.

For improvement, I need better closure.  I just had the students close the computers and collected the worksheets.  Next time, I could ask the students what they learned or what they liked about using the technology.  I could have them write their responses on the graffiti wall in the back.

Day 3: Today I had to try again with the second class since computers failed the first time. There wasn’t enough time to start up the computers so we had to do it together as a class on the board. Students were able to choose the order of subjects they wanted to learn about at first, which was nice.  I guided them through the first part of the slideshow as they filled out their worksheets together. For the second half, they had a little more independence of filling out their worksheet as we wouldn’t state the exact answer; either a student or I read the slides, then students filled in the answer on the worksheet. For the links that showed up in small print, I had students up front read the board and give some possible answers.  It was a shame the students in this class couldn’t use the computers because the lesson is so much better and interactive when students can use the computer. Using their own computers would have kept them more engaged but sometimes technology isn’t always possible and you have to make adaptations to that.

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