The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 4

Notes and Lesson Plans

Landforms & Water Features
updated March 16, 2020

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

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Landforms & Water Features
for Class 4

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your fourth grade year. Enjoy!


I taught the fourth grade Local History & Geography block at our homeschool co-op in September 2018. Looking back, I have realized that we did a LOT with local history, geography, and industry but we didn't do a lot with landforms, water features, or map skills (like the compass rose).

In my opinion, I think this would work best as two blocks, so I am creating a separate Landforms & Water Features block. I will post all of my notes as to what we do below and put photos on my blog.

Books to Buy

There is no main book to purchase for this topic.

Instead, I am using a fabulous Montessori material from Mandala Classroom Resources: Landforms & Water Features Set of 38 three part cards ($49.00). Three part cards are designed for the student to work independently, matching Picture, Name, and Definition. The cards are labeled on the back for control of error. This means that students can check their work on their own by flipping the cards over to see if they are correct. Highly recommended!!

I am doing this block in September 2019, interweaving it with Form Drawing (the archetypal shapes around us are found also in the land) for my first graders and using it to transition them into Capital Letters in October (Mountain, Valley, Cave, River, etc.). For my older students this will be a Science main lesson book.

I am beginning the school year in the last week of August with an introduction to Form Drawing. Then in September, the first graders will continue 1st grade FD and the older children will move into 2nd and 3rd grade FD. The landforms and water features will progress accordingly, with mirrored forms (the classic way of presenting landforms and water features in Montessori is to see them as opposites of each other, like island/lake) and then with metamorphosis forms.

We are doing 32 of the 38 cards. We are not using the cards for continent, continental shelf, cape, pass, ria, or bight.

Our read aloud story for this block: Abel's Island by William Steig


Day One - Reef

Day Two - River

Day Three - Cave

Day Four - Waterfall


Day Five - Island / Lake Mirrored

    dig and make in yard

    National Geographic map United States - Great Lakes

Day Six - Mountain / Valley Mirrored

    dig and make in yard

    National Geographic map Mount Everest

    National Geographic map Alps

    National Geographic map Great Rift Valley

    National Geographic map Indian Ocean Floor

    National Geographic map Arctic Ocean Floor

Day Seven - Isthmus / Strait Mirrored

    dig and make in yard

    National Geographic maps World - Panama, Strait of Magellan

Day Eight - Peninsula / Gulf Mirrored

    dig and make in yard

    National Geographic map Italy

    National Geographic map United States - Florida, Gulf of Mexico


Day Nine - Gulf / Lagoon Metamorphosis

    make metamorphosis in clay

Day Ten - Volcano / Crater Metamorphosis

    vintage postcard of Mount St. Helens before eruption

    Volcanoes, pp.12-13 from Earth by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

    pumice from my hike up Mount Vesuvius

    Waseca Biomes Rock Cycle Mat

    This Dynamic Planet Map from USGS - Ring of Fire

    torn paper collage artwork with Mod Podge - volcano

    crater on moon demonstration in flour

    Earth by the Numbers

    by Steve Jenkins

Day Eleven - Desert / Oasis Metamorphosis

Day Twelve - Glacier / Fjord / Iceberg Metamorphosis


Day Thirteen - Archipelago / Atoll / Reef Metamorphosis

    make metamorphosis in clay

    National Geographic map World - Japan, Hawaii

    National Geographic map Philippines

    National Geographic map Indonesia

Day Fourteen - Plain / River / Canyon Metamorphosis

Day Fifteen - River / Estuary / Bay Metamorphosis

Day Sixteen - River / Tributary / River Basin / Delta Metamorphosis


Day Seventeen - Plain / Plateau / Butte / Earth Pillar Metamorphosis

My blog posts from teaching this block:

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