Models to brighten your class

Manognya Reddy

Here is a simple idea to bring your geography classes alive. The models described below can be easily made, with readily available materials and resources.

For years, bored geography students have listened to their teachers doling out definitions such as ‘An island is a piece of land surrounded by water on all sides’ with no pictorial aids to help their imagination.

Here is an idea to describe physical features which will make your geography classes distinctly different and of course, more interesting to your students. Although this model is of an island, you can use the same materials and resources to make other geographical features – mountains, archipelagos, plateaus, deserts etc.

The model can be made easily, within an hour, in fact. The materials required for making a model of an island are:
For the base – a thick piece of hardboard (18” by 18”)
Fine sand
Blue chalk powder or any blue detergent powder
Trees made of paper
Houses( borrowed from a Monopoly set)
Papier mache(optional)
A few sheets of paper, fevicol or gum, paintbox

  • On the hardboard, mark out the areas ‘land and ‘sea’ with a pencil. (‘Land’ will be the portion in the middle of the piece of hardboard).
  • On the area marked ‘land’, spread the adhesive and sprinkle sand. Remove excess sand.
  • On the areas marked ‘sea’ spread the adhesive and sprinkle crushed chalk powder or detergent.
  • Make trees with paper and paint the trunk brown and the leaves green.
  • Make a paper boat and place it on the area marked ‘sea’.
  • Mould the papier mache to form hills on the sandy portion of the model and paint them light brown. And the model of an island is ready.

You can involve the students in this activity to make it more interesting. Divide the class into groups and get each group to work on a different land formation. It would be easier if you brought the materials and kept them ready for use. The groups could paint their names under their respective models – which would then form part of the class museum. The children would have the satisfaction of actually making the models and of knowing that the models would be used and acknowledged by others.

This article first appeared in Teacher Plus, May-June 1991, Vol. No: 12.