Earth: Landforms

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11733

Does all the earth look the same as your neighborhood? The earth has mountains, valleys, mesas, buttes--many wonderful landforms! Look at pictures and play a matching game to learn what all these are!


Earth Science, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • When you look around outside, what do you see (besides maybe man-made buildings and structures)?
  • Is the Earth flat and boring and all the same?


Learn about the different landforms that make our planet so interesting and beautiful!

The Earth is a gorgeous place filled with many different landforms.

A landform is a natural part of the Earth's surface. During this lesson, you will explore a variety of different landforms that can be found in different places around the world.

The first landform you will learn about is called a mountain. Mountains stretch high into the sky. The top of a mountain is called a peak. Mountains that are very tall may have a snowy peak (tip) on the top.

Fitz Roy mountain

A hill rises from the ground, but is much smaller than a mountain. A hill is also usually rounded at the top. Take a look at the hills below.

  • Do you have hills where you live?
  • What is the difference between the shape of the mountain above and the hill below?

hills of New Zealand

A canyon is made up of mountains, hills, and valleys. A canyon generally has a low valley (lowland) in the middle and steep walls of rock and soil surrounding the outside of the valley. It is usually very deep, and sometimes has a river flowing around its curves.

Check out the beautiful canyon below:

Charyn Canyon

A steep drop from land to the ground or water is called a cliff. Most cliffs are usually found by the ocean.

  • Can you see how high above the water the cliff is?

Cliffs of Moher

A bay is a part of the ocean that curves inward. A bay can be found next to land. The bay below attaches to the beach.

Look at the water below; it makes a half-circle shape in the land:

Las Cabanas bay

A landform that stretches out into the ocean is called a peninsula. A peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides and is still connected to the land:


An island is a landform that is completely surrounded by water.

  • Can you see the island in the middle of the blue ocean?

tropical island

A plateau is similar to a mountain, except the top is flat. A large or medium sized plateau is called a mesa, and a small plateau is called a butte (pronounced "byoot," as in "beautiful").

Colorado Plateau

The low area of land between two mountains is called a valley. If your home is surrounded by mountains, you live in a valley!

Nant Francon Valley

A volcano is a hill or mountain that has a large hole at the top. Hot magma (melted rock) can be found inside a volcano. Volcanos come in many different shapes and sizes.

The volcano below is erupting. When a volcano erupts, the magma that is beneath the surface comes out of different vents as lava (also melted rock). Some eruptions cause huge explosions of ash, smoke, rock, and lava!

Popocatepetl volcano

You learned about many different landforms.

  • Which one was your favorite?

Now, move on to the Got It? section.

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