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Poland fourth-graders make deep connections with landforms project

Dec. 18, 2018

Student poses with his mesa project and another with her mountain project

Poland Central School District fourth-graders (left) Connor Cowan, 9, and (right) McKenzie Parow, 9, pose next to their landforms projects. Connor’s project was on a mesa, and McKenzie’s was on a mountain.

View photos of all the projects soon on Facebook at

POLAND – Poland Central School District fourth-graders recently completed a landform project that included choosing a landform, conducting research, writing about the landform, building a model of the landform and presenting about it to their classmates.

The fourth-graders enjoyed various aspects of the project, including Connor Cowan, 9, who said he was most happy about overcoming a challenge.

“My favorite part was probably speaking in front of the class because I don’t like doing it at all, but I wasn’t scared this time,” he said. “Usually, I’m really nervous.”

Fourth-graders in the classrooms of both teachers, Tracy Graulich and Lori Seymour, participated in the project under the guidance of Graulich, “the science lady.” It was an “additive project” that Graulich developed.

Students learned about landforms such as volcanoes, islands, gulfs, glaciers and more in class. They did some work in class and had more than a month to work on the project at home.

“I think they had a blast with it,” Graulich said. “I think they realized there’s more to landforms than the hill out back or climbing the Adirondack mountains.”

The projects came out very nice, Graulich said.

“I let them have their own creativity with it,” she said.

Connor chose a mesa for his landform.

“I did a mesa because I had no idea about it, and I wanted to learn about it,” he said. “I learned that a mesa is formed by erosion, and once a mesa gets eroded, a butte forms.”

Kade Haver, 9, did his project on a butte.

“I didn’t even know what a butte was,” Kade said, before explaining what he was thinking when choosing it. “It looked pretty cool. It could be challenging. Let’s go with a butte.”

Kade and the other students were able to explain in detail how they made their landform models and added scenery and animals to them. Kade recalled doing research and his grandfather’s house and getting sand from the project stuck to his hands for days.

“It turned out to be pretty fun,” Kade said. “Really fun.”

Kade was looking forward to bringing the project home.

“I’m going to take that and put it on my shelf,” he said.

Ella Greene, 10, agreed with Kade and acted out how she would set her project up at her home.

“I got it on my shelf right there,” she said, as she motioned as if she was setting the project down.

Ella, who moved to Poland from Louisiana a few months ago, chose a swamp for her landform.

“I love swamps because I was born in the swamps,” she said. “So I was like let’s just do my culture of Louisiana.”

Ella enjoyed doing the research and creating her model for the project.

“My favorite part about the swamp is probably the moss trees,” she said, noting that her parents got engaged by ‘moss trees.’ “I had fun with this.”

McKenzie Parow, 9, chose a mountain for her landform.

“I did a mountain because when we go hiking up a mountain, my mom says it reminds her of her dad,” she said.

McKenzie’s favorite part was creating the landform.

“When I was building it, all the little details I had,” she said.

McKenzie explained some of the challenges of doing the research but that she was able to find what she needed.

“It kept saying, ‘Do you want pictures of mountains?’” she said. “I was like, ‘No, I want information!’”

Student poses with her swamp project and another with his butte project

Poland Central School District fourth-graders (left) Ella Greene, 10, and (right) Kade Haver, 9, pose next to their landforms projects. Ella’s project was on a swamp, and Kade’s was on a butte.