What It's All About
Land is shaped by many factors. Natural processes that shape land include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and erosion. People also shape the land by building on it, farming it, and extracting natural resources from it.
Land the Way Nature Intended
What is land? It's more than dirt and rocks. People are surrounded by and live on very different types of land. The land was formed by many factors over time, and today it supports vastly different types of life and cultures. The eight major types of landforms are:
Assign small groups to each type of landform. Depending on how many students are in each group and what age they are, have them research what the landform is, what natural processes may have created it over time, what types of vegetation and wildlife inhabit the area, and what types of communities live in each area. To make it easier, they can pick one community to explore, such as a specific nomadic tribe that lives in the desert. They should work together to make a poster about their landform and then do a class presentation explaining the different areas they researched.
Go to www.enviroliteracy.org and click on “Land.” You'll find a wealth of information about natural land formations and land-use issues ranging from forestry to mining. The website has many ideas and resources, most of which are adaptable to any age group.
Inside the land are gems, jewels, veins of coal, and pools of oil. All of these resources are valuable to people, but the local environment and communities pay a high price as the land is stripped and mined in search of its buried treasures. People have mined for ages, but has it become a thing of the past? Is there a better way to either find these resources or live without them?
Study the Appalachian Mountains to learn about mountaintop removal and the animal and plant life that is threatened by it. Children may wonder why such practices continue to be used if they are obviously destructive. Discuss the reasons mountaintop removal is still popular, and research alternatives. Draw pictures of the threatened animals and include them with a letter to coal-mining companies. Ask them to protect these animals by stopping mountaintop removal. You can find videos about this issue at www.ilovemountains.org.
Each year the world population increases by about 90 million people. How should we be planning cities in order to accommodate all of these new people? How long can the population increase before the planet simply can't support everyone?