In this hands-on topography lesson, students have the opportunity to construct their very own island. Each student’s imaginary island is situated on a randomly assigned plate tectonic boundary, simulating the dynamic forces that shape our planet. Students are tasked with carefully examining the characteristics of their chosen plate boundary— determining whether it is convergent, divergent, or transform—and translating these geological features into the landscape of their island. Through this activity, students not only gain a deeper understanding of Earth’s dynamic processes but also hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Students are then challenged to translate their 2-D conceptualizations into a tangible 3-D representation of their islands. This phase of the activity encourages creativity and resourcefulness, as students experiment with different materials to accurately capture the diverse features of their unique islands.

Download the documents below as a guide for The Island lesson! The Teacher document includes a helpful information including how to present the project to students and ideas for extra credit. The student version lays out the project in a comprehensive way, easy for students to understand.

Teacher                                        Student