Welcome to Kid Learn with Professor Bananas!

Welcome to Kid Learn with Professor Bananas!
Tour the Continents - Section 1 - North America
Lesson 1 -
Finding Our Place on the Earth
Lesson 2 -
The Hemispheres & Continents
Lesson 3 -
North America -Facts & Bodies of Water
Lesson 4 -
North America - Countries & Regions
Lesson 5 -
North America - Landforms - Mountains & Deserts
Lesson 6 -
North America - Landorms - Lakes, Rivers, & Ice Sheets
Lesson 7 -
Coming Soon!
Lesson 8 -

Coming Soon!

Tour the Continents with Professor Bananas - Lesson 1

Tour the Continents
Lesson 6 - North America - Landforms - Rivers, Lakes, & Ice!

Last lesson, we learned that therir were many mountains, and deserts in North America. There are also many rivers, lakes, and even an ice sheet, too! There are thousands of rivers and lakes in North America, and we are going to learn about the major ones today! We are also going to learn about plains and continental shields - two areas of land that are important landforms as well!

Let's take a look at our landform map below from last lesson, and again see how many landforms from the map's legend you can find on it:

Very good! You know all about the mountains and deserts on that map now, so let' learn about the rest!

Major Landforms
Did you see all the rivers? Notice the word watershed was used on the legend. A watershed is an entire region of land that all the creeks and stream flow into small rivers, which flow into larger rivers, which in turn flow into one major river, which flows out into an ocean or sea. Watersheds are very important to ecosystems, and need to be taken care of. If someone pollutes a small stream, it will eventually end up polluting all the water it flows into in the watershed!
There were also two large areas, one called the Candian Shield, and one called the Great Plains. Did you see them? Let's start learning about these spots first!

Continental Shield

An arial view of the Canadian Shield in Northern Canada
The Canadain Shield
The Canadian Shield is a Large U-shaped landform that takes up over half of Canada, stretching all the way to the northern United States, especially the Great Lakes region, and includes Greenland. It is a continental shield. A continental shield is an area of land on each continent that is the oldest part of the continent! It has the oldest rocks and fossils, and usually are very flat and worn down, since they have had millions (even billions!) of years of erosion, ice sheets, and glaciers.
The Canadian Shield is therefore the very first part of North America to ever be uplifted! It is a land of many lakes and streams, forest and bedrock. Many minerals are found in the Canadian Shield, including copper, gold, silver, and even diamonds! It is an important area for mining.

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The Great Plains
The Great Plains extends down the center of North America from the middle of Canada all the way through the United States, almost to Mexico! It is a vast, flat landscape with some rolling hills, but mostly miles and miles of grassland. It is about 3,000 miles long, and averages about 500 miles wide. There are many areas of farmland in the Great Plains, and vast amounts of wheat, corn, and other grain crops are grown here. Another thing that happens on the Great Plains are tornados. In fact, the most active tornado region in the owrld is the southeast portion of the Great Plains! It even has the nickname of "Tornado Alley".

Watch a video about tornadoes!

The Great Plains are very flat!


The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes lie on the border between Canada and the United States. They are five freshwater lakes that all together hold almost 1/4 of the worlds fresh water!
The five lakes are Lake Ontario, Lake Eire, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and the largest of them all, Lake Superior. Lake Superior is the second largest lake in the world. The Great Lakes were formed about 10,000 years ago. They are important for shipping, and many large cities lie on the edges of the Great Lakes.

Lake Superior frozen in the winter.

The Great Lakes from space!
The Great Lakes connect to the Atlantic Ocean by the St. Lawrence River. Many locks allow large freighter ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to cities such as Toronto, Canada and Chicago, Illinois, USA that are located inland. Locks are like special "boxes" that ships can sail into and the water gets raised or lowered as needed. This needs to be done because the lakes are not at the same level. The lakes get higher and higher the farther inland they are.

Watch a video how locks work

Watch a video of the Soo Locks bringing boats from Lake Huron to Lake Superior
File:Great Lakes.svg
The Great Lakes are not all at the same level, and ships travel upwards from the ocean or downwards to the ocean.
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Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the second logest river system in North America, but it is the largest watershed! Two Canadian Provinces and thrity-one states of the US are part of the Mississippi wtaershed. It is the 4th logenst river in the world, being 2,320 miles long! It has been a means of transportation and navigation for the people of Nrth america. The fertile soil along its banks, especially in the Mississippi River Valley area on its southern end has long been an area for farming and agriculture. The Mississippi River Delta is the area where the Mississsippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico. A delta is the area where a river flows into a body of water such as an ocean, sea, lake, estuary, or reservoir. The soil and sediments that are carried downstream in the river often build up here, making the land very fertile. Sometimes deltas are shaped like a fan, or a craggy tree with no leaves.

Watch a video on how deltas are formed

Yukon River
The Yukon River is the longest river in Alaska, USA. It flows into the Bering Sea.

Churchill River
The Churchill River is the major watershed of the Canadian Shield. It flows into Hudson Bay. This is a picture of it frozen!
Ohio River
The Ohio River is a main tributary of the Mississippi River. A tributary is a river that flows into another river.
Rio Grande River
The Rio Grande River Starts in the Rocky Mts. and then flows along the border between Mexico and the USA. It ends at the Gulf of Mexico.
Colorado River
The Colorado is the main river of the southwetsern deserts of the USA and northern Mexico. It flows into the Gulf of California.
Columbia & Snake Rivers
The Columbia River is the largest watershed in the Pacific Northwest. The Snake River is a tributary of it. The Columbia flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Missouri River
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America, being a little over 20 miles longer than the Mississippi.. It is also part of the Mississippi Watershed.

Ice Sheets
Greenland Ice Sheet
An ice sheet is where millions of layers of snow and ice have built up over thousands of years. This ice must cover more than 20,000 square miles of land. Only two ice sheets exist on the Earth today, and North America is lucky to have one of them .. the Greenland Ice Sheet!
Almost 80% of Greenland is covred by this vast sheet of ice. The ice is thick, old, and heavy. In fact, it is so heavy, scientist believe it has actualy pushed the land below it down several feet!
The ice in the ice sheet is also as old as 110,000 years old. Scientist have drilled cores into the ice to date it.
If all the ice were to melt at once from the Greenland Ice Sheet, the sea level would rise by 20 feet around the world.

This was taken from the Space Shuttle, looking down at Greenland. That is a lot of ice!

So, we have learned about many, many landforms in North America, from volcanoes, to watersheds, to ice sheets! Next lesson, we will take a look at the biomes, plants, and animals of North America!

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What We Learned in This Lesson:

* The Canadian Shield is the oldest part of North America.
* The Great Plains is a very large, flat grassland area of North America.
* Tornado Alley in the southern part of the Great Plains has the most tornadoes anywhere in the world.
* North America has many watersheds.
* The biggest watershed is the Mississippi River Watershed.
* The Great Lakes are Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior.
* The Great Lakes hold almost 1/4 of the world's fresh water.
* The Greenland Ice Sheet is only one of two ice sheets in the world.
* An ice sheet is made of millions of layers of snow and ice, and must be over 20,000 square miles of land.

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Downloads For Your Workbook:

- Download the map, title it "Rivers, Lakes, and Ice Sheets of North America" and label the appropriate map landforms. Fill in the fact area with the help of the information you just learned above.
You can use the map legend to help label the landforms by using different colors and putting the map key in the legend.

Info Sheet - Answer the questions on the info sheet for your book, and put both papers into your Tour the Continents notebook.

Banana Peels
In the 1930's, the Dust Bowl occurred on the Great Plains. Overfarming had damaged the natural grasslands, and along with a drought, the dry, dusty conditions led to much of the topsoil being blown away. Dust from the Great Plains was blown as far as Washington DC, USA!

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