Melody Casey
English Language Arts, Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • GEDB
  • Global Education
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    GEDB An Exploration of Landforms and Climate Change: A Landforms Geotour (Lesson 2 of 3)

    GEDB An Exploration of Landforms and Climate Change: A Landforms Geotour (Lesson 2 of 3)


    Students will build a geotour using an online interactive map. The geotour will provide information about specific landforms in North America and Africa. This lesson was developed by Georgia Morrison as part of their completion of the North Carolina Global Educator Digital Badge program. This lesson plan has been vetted at the local and state level for standards alignment, Global Education focus, and content accuracy.            

    Lesson Plan


    Students will build a geotour using an online interactive map. The geotour will provide information about specific landforms in North America and Africa.


    Student Engagement/Motivation

    Day 1

    The teacher will:

    • Ask students to recall the previous lesson and list the famous landforms they explored in North America and Africa, either aloud or in writing.
    • Direct each student to choose two favorites from among those landforms.  
    • Explain to students that they will each focus on two distinct landforms and work with others to create a geotour using an online interactive map.  A geotour is a path of places on a map that people can "visit" to learn about landforms.  "Travelers” click on a series of online bookmarks in order to see a trail of significant locations on a map.

    Learning Targets and Criteria for Success

    Learning Targets: 

    • I can organize information about landforms using internet tools.
    • I can present information about landforms using internet tools.
    • I can create a visual display to share information with other students.

    Criteria for Success:

    • I will mark sites on a map to show the location of landforms in North America and Africa.
    • I will type sentences in a text box to communicate the type of landform, a description of it,  its location, and an interesting fact about it.
    •  I will build a geotour.


    Learning Tasks and Practice

    Days 1-3 

    The teacher will:

    • Show students a writing sample that communicates information about a landform.  According to the criterion for success, the writing sample must include the identification of the landform, a description of it,  its location, and an interesting fact about it.  Students should understand that these elements are required.  The writing sample can be projected or distributed to students on paper copies.  
    • Direct students to follow the model in order to write about their selected landforms.  (Each student will compose independently, but consultation with peers is encouraged.)
    • Allow students time to proofread and edit their compositions.

    Days 4-6

    The teacher will:

    • Show students how to build a geotour using National Geographic’s MapMaker Interactive (  The first step is to add a map marker for Old Faithful (or any other landform the teacher wishes to use as a model).
    • Demonstrate each step of the process, guiding students through the attached document "How to Build a Geotour using Mapmaker Interactive."  (Students will watch the process, but they will not yet participate independently.)
    • Assign students to groups of two or three so that each group focuses on either North American or African landforms.  A group should not have individuals with landform selections from more than one of these continents. Pairs or groups will share a common device (Chromebook or laptop).

    The students will then attempt the process on their own.

    The students will::

    • Allow each member of the group to designate the location of a landform with a map marker using Mapmaker Interactive. 
    • Rotate among members of the group, allowing each to select the Edit feature in order to add text about his landform to the marker.  (The text will be the writing products that students prepared on previous days.) 
    • Create an online bookmark for each landform placed on the map. 

    When all students have created bookmarks, they will own a geotour with information about landforms across North America or Africa.

    Day 7

    The students will take geotours created by other groups.  They will take turns navigating through each group's product.

    Technological Engagement

    Students will use National Geographic's Mapmaker Interactive website to create geotours.

    Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Learning

    Geotours with map markers placed accurately and informative text will serve as evidence that the learning targets have been met.

    Feedback/Instructional Adjustments

    The Mapmaker Interactive website does not require a subscription or a log-in.  There is a Getting Started series of slides on the home page to help orient users to the site.  There is also a Help option in the tools menu.  I found the best resource for using this site is the one I created, however.  I composed the attached step-by-step guide because my students needed a simple list of directions to reference repeatedly as they built their geotours.

    Extended Learning Opportunities

    Live streaming sites allow for virtual field trips.  An exciting extension of this lesson is to let students experience Old Faithful in real time.

    The following is a live streaming site through which students can wait for and watch Old Faithful’s eruptions:

    Teacher Reflection of Learning

    Ensure students have mastered their abilities to identify and describe landforms before beginning this lesson.