Land and Water

Brittany Zae

This lesson is designed to help kindergarten students “distinguish between land and water on maps and globes”.

Grade Level: K - 1st

Subject: Social Studies

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to understand the difference between maps and globes by identifying oceans and land, through various activities (K.W.L. chart), observations (passing the globe) and discussions (informational book).

Materials Needed

  • inflatable globe
  • green and blue sticky notes (or dry erase markers)
  • "Maps and Globes" by Jack Knowlton


Opening to Lesson

Begin a KWL chart by asking what we know about oceans. Continue with what we WANT to know. (Actively listen as students explain their understanding of the objective)

Body of Lesson

Direct Teaching

Refer to a world map and explain that the blue represents water and the other colors represent land. Read and discuss Maps and Globes by Jack Knowlton. Explain the relevance to real life, and connect the objective to prior learning- “last week we talked about the fun things we do at the beach, and how we build sand castles on land… and where do we swim? Etc.” (The teacher will ask guided questions based on the learner’s ability level)

Guided Practice 1

Ask the following questions: Where is the water? Is there more water or more land? Refer to the globe and explain the difference between globes and maps. Point out oceans on the globe. Why are maps and globes important? Explain the following game and demonstrate. (Monitor closely and provide multiple examples and additional questions as needed.)

Guided Practice 2

Game- Sit in a circle and show an inflated globe and chart on the board marked ocean and land. Explain that we are going to toss the ball to each other. When I toss it to “Johnny”, he will catch it with both hands and then see if his hands are covering mostly water or land. If his hands are covering mostly water, he will take a blue sticky note and stick it on the graph under the heading of “ocean”. If land, take a green sticky note and place it under “land”. Repeat until each child has had a turn. (When the chart is full, direct children’s attention to the chart and ask which has more; land or ocean. Ask if they think the earth has more land or water. Elicit responses & provide additional opportunities for practices as needed.)

Independent Practice

Have students return to their tables and chairs. Hand out copies of a blank outlined world map. Have the children color in water blue and land green. (Use proximity to walk around the room. Provide time for reflection and assessment, while also individually reviewing each final colored map.)


Finish the K.W.L. chart as a class, and discuss.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Through guided questions, close monitoring and informal observation, the teacher will be able to assess students ability and understanding of the subject being introduced. Through individually assessing and reviewing students maps after completing their independent practice activity, as well as eliciting responses when finalizing the KWL chart, the teacher will be able to evaluate students.

Modification & Differentiation

While gifted and advanced students and other higher-level learners may be able to articulate their understanding of the material more, it is important to use those students and answers as a crutch to guide discussions and keep conversation going. For the independent activities, the more advanced children can label their maps with Atlantic and Pacific, or even write as many as three sentences on the topic. However, lower level students can simply color their picture correctly, label A for Atlantic and P for Pacific, or independently verbally express their understanding of maps, globes, land and oceans to the teacher.

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