Regents Earth Science: Landforms and NYS Geography

Two topics that show up on the Earth Science Regents are landscape features (especially features caused by glaciation) and New York State geography.  Although these topics aren’t very intellectually challenging, the material can be difficult to remember because it is dry.  I’ve found that this mapping and modelling activity helps students successfully learn the information they need for the regents. 

I generally teach Earth Science in two hour classes.  This lesson does not take two hours and it comes towards the end of the year, so I use whatever part of the class remains for regents practice. 

The image illustrating this post is an 1837 woodcut of Falls, from États Unis d’Amérique by Roux de Rochelle

Regents Earth Science:

Landforms and NYS Geography

Getting Started

  • Do Now: Where are glaciers currently found?
  • Check homework: Randomly call on students to answer questions assigned in the prior class.
  • Discuss student’s answers to the Do Now.  Explain that there are two main types of glacier – continental and alpine/valley glaciers.  Discuss the characteristics of each.
  • Randomly assign students to groups of 2 or 3 students.

Building Landscape Features

  • Show students the Landforms and NYS Geography Worksheet. Explain that they will follow the instructions on the handout to build various landforms directly on a map of New York State.  They are not expected to know what all of the landforms are right now and they may use their textbooks and the internet to gather information about the landforms.  They should use the materials on hand (modeling clay, paper, colored markers, glue sticks, etc.) to build representations of landforms that convey as much information about their structure and/or origin as possible.
  • After maps are complete, each group will be called on to show several of their landforms and explain why they chose to represent them as they did.

Visually Exploring Landscape Features

  • Show students photos of each landform, name them, and discuss the ways that they are formed.  After examples of all landforms have been shown, show different examples of the landforms and have students identify them.

Regents Practice

  • Tell students that they may practice the skills they will need for the lab practical portion of the Earth Science Regents or they may do a multiple choice regents question set.


  • Read Ch. 7 “Glaciers, Deserts, and Wind” p.198 #1-4, p.213 #13, p.214 #15, 17 (Prentice Hall Earth Science)
  • Optional study aid – explore the interactive “Life Cycle of a Glacier”

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