I think Spring is a great time to tackle the science benchmarks about earth materials.  It leads very well into recycling, or studying the oceans, or living and non-living things!  Earth materials were recently added to our science benchmarks so this unit was still evolving!  I made up a song to reinforce the basic idea of what the children were expected to learn.  It is to the tune of My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.

air, land, water song

I also found these pictures if you want to do any sorting about where living things belong, or which kinds of transportation go in air, land, water, etc.

air,land,water picture

And a pdf in case you want to print it!

If you do choose to reinforce living and non-living things along with this, or following this unit, I made up a little song for that too!

It is to the tune – Mary Had a Little Lamb

Living things song

I always found that learning a song is a great way to reinforce basic ideas to children.  Of course I also included lots of books, multi-sensory activities, discussions and projects!

I loved to make a paper mache earth.  Lots of children have never made a paper mache project before – if you haven’t done it – I just bought dry powdered wall paper paste (pretty cheap!) and tore newspaper into strips.  Then I blew up a big punch ball (really my husband blew it up for me!)  The children would put one strip of newspaper into the paste and pull it out between their 2 fingers – pointer and tall man – so most of the paste stayed in the tub but the whole strip was covered.  Then they just wrapped the entire balloon with strips, you won’t be able to even tell what color punch ball you began with.  I usually had 2-3 kids working on it at a time (with a parent volunteer!!)  Then we let it dry for several days – don’t put it in bright sunlight – one year the air inside expanded because it got so hot and it cracked open.  I usually put it in a basin or tub so it didn’t roll off the table, for both the paper mache and painting.  As it dried I turned it because the bottom part dried last.

Then get someone better in geography than me to draw a VERY SIMPLE outline of the continents.  Then I asked a couple of children to carefully paint them green.

I loved using Dr. Jean’s continents song from Sing to Learn – here are the lyrics and her suggestions.  If you don’t choose to use the CD it is to the tune of He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

Extend arms in a circle as if a globe. 

We’ve got the whole globe in our hands.
We’ve got the whole globe in our hands.
We’ve got the whole globe in our hands.
We’ve got the whole globe in our hands.

We’ve got North and South America
In our hands.
We’ve got Europe, Asia, Africa In our hands.
We’ve got Australia and Antarctica In our hands.
We’ve got the whole globe in our hands.

Activities:  Help children understand parts of a globe by relating them to their own bodies.
North Pole —  point to head;
South Polepoint to feet;
Tropic of Cancerchest;
Tropic of Capricornknee cap.

I took a little liberty and changed it to world instead of globe because I wanted to reinforce the word world, and tie it to the word earth.  We did look at globes and used that word too – but I wanted to reinforce the fact that our world is our earth – and this is what it looks like.  I also used my own motions –

for WORLD – the children made sign language w’s with both hands and made a circular motion in front of themselves.

We had a big discussion about where the continents are, looking at a globe and our paper mache earth.  The children pointed in the air to the basic location of the continents on a flattened world map.  Maybe that seems strange to you – you might like Dr. Jean’s idea better – she wrote the song and has the PhD!

Here is my version:

Continents song

If you haven’t seen Dr. Jean’s site – it is wonderful!  She gives the lyrics of lots of songs and tons of activity suggestions –!

Back to earth –

I made 2 different books with my classes to teach earth materials.

Earth materials book

Then we made a fun book out of construction paper.

For the cover the children cut a large oval out of 9 x 12 inch black paper.  Then they glued the title on top and wrote their name on the bottom with white crayon.

The rock page was gray, the children drew rocks on.

I mistakenly typed sand instead of soil on my first copy of this book – I changed it to soil!

Here are the masters for this book:






We made another earth project – I put turquoise paint and dish soap into a margarine dish about half filled with water.  Each child took a straw (with many reminders NOT to suck) and blew bubbles.  Then they traced a circle and placed it over the bubbles to make bubble prints – it makes a pleasing watery print!  Then the children took scraps of green construction paper and tore land pieces to glue on.  They looked great!

We followed up our unit on earth materials with recycling and ways to save the earth!!

Coming soon!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Grandma G
    Mar 27, 2011 @ 08:02:36

    You are so very talented with your materials.Thank you very much for sharing.I share your ideas with many teachers.
    Have a super day!


  2. Anna Harris
    Jan 02, 2015 @ 16:18:04

    I am a TA and had to find a lesson plan for “earth materials”. Never in a million years did I think I would come across something as WONDERFUL as this!
    Thank you very much! Anna


  3. roy
    Nov 04, 2017 @ 04:43:15

    it a plan full of wonderful ideas. thanks for sharing


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