Birth of Islands

Birth of Islands lesson plan

Learn how islands are formed then build models of different kinds of islands to show what you've learned.

  • 1.

    Divide into teams of 3 or 4 students to design imaginary or real islands. Record a list of choices about the characteristics of the island using Crayola® Colored Pencils.

  • 2.

    With Crayola Model Magic, create 3-dimensional island models. Use a cardboard base if necessary. Incorporate recycled collage materials such as twigs, paper towel tubes, craft sticks, toothpicks, or cotton balls to form island features. Attach with Crayola School Glue.

  • 3.

    When the Model Magic is dry, cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Paint the island's land forms and bodies of water with Crayola Watercolor Paint or Tempera Paint and Brushes.

  • 4.

    Choose names for the island as well as its parts, such as peninsulas, inlets, coves, basins, valleys, mountain ranges, and lakes. Make labels with Crayola Colored Pencils or Washable Markers.


  • Students research how islands are formed (once connected then chipped off continents, low-lying land bridge became submerged, spurts of molten lava from undersea volcanoes, or gradual build-up of organic material) and locate real examples of each type.
  • Students work in groups to build real or imaginary islands, accurately presenting how they accurately represent how the island was formed, where it is located on earth, its features, climactic conditions, how plant and animal life reached the island, and
  • Students summarize ideas, use new terminology, and practice public speaking skills as they present island models to classmates.


  • Advanced students can simulate economies among their islands. Use the islands' natural resources to pursue trade, agriculture, and industry. Consider how these "developments" would affect the islands and their people.
  • Observe a local island over time. Draw natural as well as people-made features in journals. Record seasonal changes, such as water lines and vegetation.
  • Construct islands with sand and experiment with the effects of wind, water, plants, and people on them. Tie the sand and Model Magic constructions to understandings about beaches, ports, fishing, floods, and lighthouses.
  • Encourage development of mapping skills. Draw maps of islands showing geography, topography, climate, vegetation, population, language, wealth, natural resources, or other features.