Locating Examples of Rivers, Lakes and Glaciers on a World Map

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT summarize and share some of their webquest learning on a world map.

Big Idea

Students discover that water can be found as a liquid or solid on all the continents, and indicate the location of some of these water features on a world map.

NGSS Connections and Class Preparation

30 minutes

NGSS Standards

ESS2-3: Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.

Students summarize their webquest research to identify and locate a few rivers, lakes and glaciers on a world map and to summarize that there is solid water and oceans at the poles.

Science Practices

- Analyzing and Interpreting Data (SP 4)

Students review their maps from the webquest research to summarize where liquid and solid water can be found in the world.

- Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (SP6)

Students use their observations to construct an explanation about where rivers, lakes and glaciers are found on Earth.

Lesson Preparation

This lesson builds on students' research they did on their webquest in the lesson: Blue Planet.

Large world map for students to add their labels and symbols.

Hang the KLEWS chart in a prominent location or create a similar KWL chart (see KLEWS section in this lesson).

Have lap top or iPads available if teams need to research their continent or pole


Student webquest research

World map

map label and map symbol template for teams




Question for the Day

5 minutes

I start science with a question, usually written on the board.  This allows students time to consider today's topic before the lesson has officially begun

Students know that when they return from lunch, we meet on the rug to read our 'science question for the day'.

I have established this routine with the kiddos to keep transition time short and effective and redirect student's attention back to content while allowing time for focused peer interaction.

Question for Day: What water features did you discover in your district ...lakes? rivers? glaciers?

I chose this question to encourage the kiddos to think about what they have learned on their webquest.

"Before you share your answer with your neighbor, meet with your exploration team and check that you all agree with team's answer."

I give the students a couple of minutes to collaborate with team members, then ask them to share with another team. I listen for the water features mentioned.


15 minutes

I want to include their observations on the KLEWS chart that we started at the beginning of the unit.

"What did you find out when you shared with another team?

I expect that most teams will share that they observed lakes, rivers and glaciers in their district.

"What water features did the North Pole and Antarctica teams see?"

I ask each 'district' to share what water features they observed in their district and add these to the 'experiences/observation' column in the KLEWS chart.

I point to the new observations that the kiddos shared and ask them what can they learn from these observations.

I am using this opportunity to help students summarize that there is fresh water in three states of matter on all the continents and that the poles have solid ice. (See my reflection regarding students' summary).

At this point in the students' schema, I do not delve into how ice flows in Antarctica, and how there could be liquid fresh water at the base of the ice flow.

"So we could say we learned that there is..." (water found as a liquid and solid all the continents) I call on students to help fill in the blank as I write their response on the KLEWS chart.

"Wow look at that new learning! Today you are going to show your learning on a GIANT world map, so that the other teams can see where you found some of the world's major rivers, lakes and glaciers."

"I will pass our your webquest materials so that you can look at your maps to see where you marked some of the lakes, rivers and glaciers. Then I will tell you what we will do next. Please move to your team station.

When I made the teams, I made a map to show teams where they would work together in the classroom. This helps create efficient transitions from students moving from the rug back to the desks.



Deltas, Glaciers and Lakes

30 minutes

I pass out the team materials. I walk around the room and help teams consolidate their information so that they have at least one map with the 3 water features labeled in the correct places on their map.

I have computers available for students to check their information if needed.

I use this time to confer with the North Pole and Antarctica group. I ask them what would be important to show on the map. I guide the discussion so that they explain about the ice shelves in Antarctica and the difference between the 2 poles that one has ice on land and the other on the ocean.

After checking that all teams have identified the location of the 3 water features on their maps. I show them the map that they will be labeling.

"This is the world map that you will label. Let's make a key for each of the water features. Then your team can place their symbols to show where the water feature is on your continent."

"For the rivers, since they are long and curvy, you could show the location where the river flows into the ocean. Does any one remember what this was called on your webquest? Where the river pours into the ocean is also called the river mouth. 

I am looking for the term river delta, if a student should remember the name, I will add to the KLEWS vocabulary chart. If no one mentions the vocabulary, I will share the word but will wait to add to the KLEWS chart when they have a lesson on rivers.

Once the key is decided for river, lake and glacier, I pass out paper for students to make their water feature symbols and a strip of paper to write the proper noun of the water feature. Then I call teams to place their symbols on the map to show the location and state the name for the rest of the class.

To expedite the class's choice of symbols for river, lake and glacier, I call on 3 volunteers to draw the symbol suggestion under the document camera and then students vote. Then I make and post a map key while students are working. I think it is important for students to be involved with this decision as it helps to develop their schema on these 3 water features. 

What do we see on our world map?

10 minutes

After all the teams have placed their symbols on the map. I ask students what do they notice now that we have all the information posted on one map. I write their answers on post - its and place them on the KLEWS chart. (later I will write their responses on the chart)

Possible answers I am looking for: all the continents have glaciers

                                                  no rivers at the poles

                                                  rivers pour into the ocean or seas

                                                  fresh water rivers pour into salty oceans (No one mentioned this one. I think students need to learn about what makes an ocean salty)

                                                  the north pole is frozen ice on water

                                                  the south pole is frozen water on land

Possibly the students will provide other answers that I did not consider! I also use this time to ask students if they have any questions or wonderings about lakes, rivers and/or glaciers.

I thank the students for helping to put their information on the world map. Then ask them to return their individual maps to their file.