Material Type:
Upper Elementary
Earthquakes, Landforms, Lesson Plan, Volcanoes
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML

Education Standards

Science - Landforms Vocabulary in Context

Science - Landforms Vocabulary in Context


This lesson plan is to help students gain understanding of 5th grade vocabulary pertaining to Earth System Changes and Landforms.  There are articles, images, vocabulary lists, and assessments included.  Enjoy!


In this lesson, students will learn new vocabulary through reading, listening, and engaging in conversation.  This is an introductory science vocabulary lesson meant for 5th grade students and geared towards Multilingual Learners.

  • Time frame:  2 - 30 minute class periods, or 1 - 60 minute class period
  • Format: face-to-face, synchronous, asynchronous
  • Materials Needed: Landform articles, list of vocabulary words, images of landforms, Vocabulary-Spelling City website 



Background for Teachers

For this lesson you will need an understanding of landforms and the different types that are listed in the vocabulary section.  Use the pictures provided to help YOU and students gain a visual and better understanding of the differences between each one.  Please use the articles attached in section 1 to also help you.

A great place to find other resources relating to this topic is through Utah's Online Library.  Check out EBSCO, Digital Science Online (in English and Spanish), and World Book Online (also in English and Spanish).  


Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes


Learning Intentions:

  • Students will be able to understand landform vocabulary through reading, listening, discussing, viewing, and engaging with content materials through articles, images, and multi-media activities.

Success Criteria:

  • Students will draw landforms and discuss their understanding with partners.  Students will match landform words with definitions accurately to show understanding.


Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Prior to this lesson, students will need to have a basic understanding of landforms.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students will have access to the vocabulary word list to help them scaffold their understanding as they become more familiar with new landform vocabulary.  Students will add images to their word list to help them gain further understanding.  

Multilingal students can be paired with students who speak their same primary language to help understand vocabulary in both languages.  Multilingual students can also share these words in their primary language with other students.  

In small groups or pairs students can create a concentration game to match pictures, words, and definitions together.

Step 3 - Instruction

1.  Read through the new vocabulary list and see if any of the words are familiar to the students.  What background knowledge or experience do they already have with landforms?  

2.  Place landform pictures on the board and ask students if any of the images help them understand the vocabulary words better.  Tell them that they'll be adding their own drawings to their vocabulary list as you read through the articles.

3.  Read through the articles provided with students.  Have students underline or highlight vocabulary along the way.  Allow time to stop and have partners discuss vocabulary, identify the illustration on the board, and give students time to draw on their own vocabulary lists. 

***You may only have time to get through one article during each lesson.  Determine how much more time may be needed for future lesson(s).***

4.  Have students go to the Vocabulary-Spelling City website.  Here they can create their own memory match vocabulary game by entering the words and definitions from their list.  Give students time to enter in definitions and play the game.  You can also have the game pre-created under your account and just send students there to play memory match.  This may save time from having students individually enter words and definitions properly.


A.  Slap-it:  Write the vocabulary words on the front board.  Have two students stand at the front.  As the teacher (or another student) reads off a definition, the two up front must try to be the first to locate the word on the board and slap it with their hand.

B.  Bingo - Give students a blank Bingo board to fill out with their new vocabulary words.  Call out definitions and have them cover the words on their board with a marker.  First player(s) to get Bingo win!

C.  Call and Draw - Call out a new vocabulary word and have students draw a picture or example on their whiteboard.  Then allow students to find a partner and explain their drawing to one another.

Step 4 - Assessments

1.  Vocabulary Matching Quiz - Have students match definitions and words together.  (Attached below)

2.  Drawing Vocab Quiz - Like a spelling test, call out the word for students to write down.  Then allow them to draw a picture or write what the word means.  This is a great extension, but also helps Multilingual students who may not be able to recall the definition, but can represent the word through pictures.

3.  For some students who may struggle with writing, use the vocabulary pictures.  Place them face up on a table.  Give the student a word and ask them to identify the picture.  Then have them tell you verbally what they can about the image and what it means.

4.  Use your online matching Vocabulary-Spelling City game and have students play until they reach a certain score.  Have them raise their hand to show you their screen when complete.