Creating a Landform YAKiT

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SWBAT create a short presentation about an assigned landform.

Big Idea

We can take information we have learned and create a short, creative and entertaining presentation. Using technology such as a YAKiT can add an element of FUN!

Teacher Notes

Activity Description

Watch the short video for an activity description and to preview the resources.


In the previous lesson the children were divided into "expert" groups to collect information about an assigned landform.  In this lesson, the "experts" will use the free app YAKiT Kids to help them create a short presentation.  Then the expert groups will present their learning to the rest of the class.  The children will be learning vocabulary in such a fun and memorable way!

NGSS/ Common Core Connections

In the NGSS the children need to be able to develop a model to represent the shapes and kind of land and bodies of water in an area.  This lesson will be one of the building blocks to aid in that goal.   In addition, they will be communicating scientific information that they have gathered in collaboration with peers while learning that landforms are patterns found in the natural world.  Also, there are many common core standards that this lesson aligns with.  First the children are using a digital tool (YAKiT) to produce and publish their writing in collaboration with peers. They are creating a visual display and recording their information while speaking audibly in complete sentences as part of the process.  


 Advanced Teacher prep

You will need to obtain the FREE YAKiT Kids app.  Please make sure to download the kids version of the app.

Note about YAKiT Kids--This is such a fun app!  You can take a photo of anything, and   add stickers to it, such as facial features.  Then you record your voice to make the photo "talk."   Please check out the instruction sheet for directions on how to make a YAKiT.  There are many directions on the sheet, but please don't let that scare you off.  It is SUPER easy and intuitive.  You probably won't even need the directions, but I have them for you if you need them for reference.







5 minutes

To engage the students, I first remind them of their expert status and what that means to the class.

Yesterday you researched a landform.  As a matter of fact, each team researched a different landform.  You became experts on your landform, and the other children became experts on the other landforms.  How do you think we could share our knowledge?

I want them to come up with the idea that scientists share their ideas using some form of communication.  It is this communication of ideas in which everyone benefits. Having the children share their knowledge is of utmost importance, especially since the other children will be learning from them.  They are now the teachers.  After we discuss their important role in this endeavor, I let them in on a great surprise.  

Today you and your team will be sharing your knowledge by creating a YAKiT. A YAKiT is a really fun app in which you take a photo, and make it come to life by adding human characteristics to it, such as a mouth and eyes.  Then you record something that you want the YAKiT to look like it is saying. YAKiTs can be just plain fun, but today we are going to use them for an educational purpose.  Here's what a YAKiT landform presentation looks like.

I show them an Ocean YAKiT example

By using a YAKiT, you will be teaching the class all about the landform that you were assigned.  You will be using the information that you have collected on your landform sheets to create a recording.  This recording will be used to teach the rest of the class.  Remember you are the experts and your classmates need to learn all of the information about that landform.

This part is so much fun.  I love using interesting ways, especially technology, for the children to present information.  It seems to engage them in a way that allows them to learn content without even realizing it.  Click here for more information of why I use technology in the classroom.




Writing the "Scripts"

20 minutes

 For the next part, I use a different example to model the process for the children so they see a variety of YAKiT presentations.

Here is an Canyon YAKiT teacher example video to use for modeling.

Before we make a YAKiT, you have to write a short script containing the information you have collected.  You are telling the information as if you were that land formation.  Did you notice in my Yakit how I talked as if I were the canyon?  It's like telling a story from a first person point of view.

In my class, when I do a read aloud, we always discuss the point of view.  My children are knowledgeable of the concept, but need some reminders on what first person means.

Who remembers what sort of words I would use if I were telling a story in first person point of view? (I, my, me, we, us, our, mine)

I write the words on the board so they can reference it later.

The first thing you will need to do it to fill out an organizer.  The organizer will help you to organize your information. The organizer has a spot for a short introduction, then the main body and a short conclusion. 

I created YAKiT Script Organzation sheet to help guide the children in transferring their information into a cohesive script.   They must integrate their newfound knowledge into a form that will make it entertaining while delivering the information that an expert should. This organizer has room for just a short introduction, 1-2 main details and a short conclusion.  The organizing sheet will help guide the children, since making up a script without a plan would be very difficult.  I use this YAKiT Script Organizer TEACHER EXAMPLE that to model the process for the children.  

Let's start with the introduction.  In the introduction, you will have to think of a way that you want to introduce your landform.  You might want to simply say "Hi!" Then you need to somehow tell the definition of your landform.  So you might want to say, "Hi!  I am a canyon.  I am the land that is found between two high pieces of land or cliffs."

In the introduction there is just enough room for the kids to introduce the landform and then tell its definition.  The recording the students will be making is only 15 seconds, so the script is very short. On the organizer I have hints in the parentheses to help remind them what goes in this category.

Then for the main body, you need to tell ONE or TWO characteristics, examples and other interesting information.  I try to use the information I have gathered to create a fun dialogue that mixes in some feelings.

For my example, I might say, "Many rivers carve through me.  I know that sounds pretty painful, but I'm used to it." Notice the way that I am talking like I am the canyon,  Instead of rivers carving through canyons, I say that they are carving through me.  I am imagining how it might feel, so I added the part about how it sounds pretty painful.  Actually no one knows how it feels, I just made that part up to make it sound like the canyon is experiencing this.  This is how I am changing my information to make it seem like the canyon is talking.

Modeling the desired outcome helps the children learn how to write their script with the intent that I have planned.  It kind of gives them an idea of what is expected and let's them in on the "secrets" of how to create a script.  Modeling ensures a higher degree of success.  Also, as in the Common Core, audio recordings of work should have a dialogue that has been written with clarity.

Then for the conclusion, you can think of a creative ending.  I just said, "I hope you come to the Grand Canyon and visit me soon.  I'm not getting any younger, you know." I am making a bit of a joke about being old.  This makes the canyon seem as if it were talking.

I want them to understand the idea that to make the canyon seem human, you have to use first person point of view and add some feelings to the dialogue.  But more importantly, the dialogue needs to include most of the facts that they have written on their notes.

Once I feel that they have understood the assignment, they get out their Landform Research sheets (from this lesson) and the YAKiT script organizer.   They start working with their team to fill in the YAKiT script organizer (see peninsula example).  As they are working, I walk around and check to see if their work meets that following specifications:

  • told from the first person point of view
  • contains a definition
  • contains 2 or more primary facts
  • has a relevant conclusion

If they need help, I try to help them right at this point, since we will be creating their YAKiTs next.  Click here for an example of three boys working together very well.  What is great about the video clip is that a lower achieving boy is taking the lead in the threesome.  It is the same case in this video clip, as well.  This is why I love high-interest projects!  The two girls in this this video clip were working so well together that they were right in sync.

THIS WOULD BE A GOOD BREAKPOINT if you do not have enough time to finish today.


Creating the YAKiT!

20 minutes

Next I give the class a quick lesson on how to use the YAKiT app. I demonstrate the steps to show them how it is done.

Making a YAKiT is easy.  The first thing you have to do is tap on the YAKiT app.  Then you click on where it says "take your own photo".  Place the landform photo under the ipad.  Move the ipad until the photo that you are taking a picture of fills the screen.  You want to make sure that your photo is as large as the screen so you have a large space to put a face.  Click on "use photo."  Then you click on the face options.  Place the face on the important part of your landform.  So if your picture shows a valley, make sure to place the facial features on the valley, not on the mountains that are on each side of it.  

This is a really important point to stress.  Many of the photos show more than just the children's landforms.  For example, the coast shows the ocean and the coast.  Of course, the facial features should be on the coast, not the ocean, even though it might be more prominent.

Then I go through the rest of the directions, as on this resource How to Create a YAKiT instruction sheet.  After we have gone through the directions, I answer any questions they have.  Then they create their YAKiTs.

 I walk around and check that the students are able to follow the directions given.  Most of them catch on as fast as lightning, since they are natives to this high tech world of ours.   In this video clip a partner group is practicing their YAKiT.  I love how the boy gives his partner the cue to start.  Such great teamwork!  In this video you can see the same partners creating their YAKIT.  

If you want to see a YAKiT from beginning to end watch this video of a student creating a YAKIT for the plains and here is the finished product.

In the Common Core, standard SL2.4 is for the children to create a presentation speaking audibly and in coherent sentences.  This app is great for making even children with some speaking difficulty feel more at ease.  You can change the voice to a high, medium or low pitch, which completely masks your voice.  Even the most reluctant speaker will feel like they are the greatest actor on Earth and will want to speak freely. My shyest students were talking up a storm!


5 minutes

I help summarize the lesson for the day.

Boys and girls, today we created a YAKiT.  It was super fun, but who can tell me what was the main reason that we created a YAKiT?  What can YAKiTs help us do?

I want the children to understand that YAKiTs are a vehicle to get across the information that they have learned in a fun way.  Yes, it's super entertaining, but there was an educational purpose intertwined.  They need to know vocabulary associated with landforms, and this is the perfect way to do it that will make it memorable for all.  In the future, we will be creating our own landform, and knowing these landform vocabulary terms will help with this endeavour.

We are going to be sharing our YAKiT presentations tomorrow.  Each of you are going to be responsible to listen to each other's YAKiTs and