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….. We make
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Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Life

Thank you….

  • Kate Thanks for sharing your tips. Put cream on the strawbs and you will be fine 26 Jul
  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... I love experimenting with filters on Instagram and then just put it back to normal when I post! I do like black and white pics... 25 Jul
  • Helena Love the colour of the material and the fish. I also think it's great that you've taken something and put your own twist on it.... 25 Jul
  • Craft Mother That is inspirational. Gives me hope that I can do it. Interesting about flexibility. I hadn't thought of that. Possibly I need to look into... 25 Jul
  • Craft Mother Yes very relaxed. 25 Jul
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

KS2

Investigating map contour lines – Education Craft

I love maps. I love opening them out on the table like a cloth. Leaning forward and scanning every inch in detail. I can quite easily lose time pouring over a map. Reading the names and studying the lay of the land. Each teasingly hint at long forgotten stories. The most tantalizing ones duly noted to be explored on foot one day.

You need to be able to read a map to fully appreciate it. The key to the symbols is found at the side, but to bring the map to life, you need to be able to turn the flat 2d representation into a 3d version in your mind. It takes practise.

The other day we were pouring over a map. The Teen was off on an expedition. Seeing as she had a heavy pack to carry, we were paying close attention to the contour lines.

Youngest joined in. What were contour lines? I explained that the closer the lines were the steeper the land would be. The further apart, then the flatter the land.

Then he gave me that “Ah” that I’ve heard so many times before. The one that means he kind of understands, but he doesn’t. It’s the same “Ah” that sent me off, a few years back, baking castle cookies to explain erosion and why castles become ruins.

So I came up with a plan. One to make sure he truly understood map contours. I’d chose a set of map contour lines that would fit completely on a piece of A4 paper, that he would recognize and we could turn them into a 3d model. I chose Glastonbury Tor. It was ideal. A hill surrounded by flatter land. It stands out in the Somerset Levels landscape. Plus it’s a landmark we often use in our local travels, so the Boy knows it well.

Here’s how we made a 3D model from a map

Step 1. Photocopy part of a map and scale up one part of it that will be your model. We used 1:25,000 map and scaled it by 10.

Step 2. Using blue-tack, we temporarily fixed the map, face-up, to a piece of cardboard. Cut all the way round the contour line nearest the edge.

Step 3. Remove the middle part of the map and fix it to another piece of cardboard and repeat step 2 and 3 until all the contour lines have been cut around.

Step 4. You should have a pile of cardboard map sections, increasing in size. Number them now, before they have a chance to get out of order. Make sure they are flat.

Note: You don’t have to be too precise, it’s up to you. If it is very steep, then contour lines run into each other and can become difficult to separate when you are cutting. This is not meant to be a perfect scale model, just a way to introduce contours.

Step 5. Check the height between each of the contour lines on the map. On our map it was 5 metres. I roughly worked out that the scale we had made, we could space our different map layers by 1cm. Youngest was sent scurrying around the house, with a ruler, to locate suitable spacers. We found jam jar lids and bottle cap were just about right.

Step 6: Build up the map layers with a spacer in between each one. (The Tor doesn’t look quite so tall in real life, so I think our calculations or measuring may be slightly too generous, but the Boy didn’t mind. He got the idea)

3d model complete!

Extension Learning:

» Looking down on top, we saw how the contours of the model resembled the printed map.

» We took out layers and left every third one. The hill has now lower, but it was also less steep. We compared it to the top five layers of the original model. Same height, but one was steeper than the other.

» We looked from on top to see how the contour lines were now spaced further apart.

»The Boy asked how would we know if it was going up hill or down. We looked back at the real map and saw the numbers on the contour lines. The numbers decreased as they went down hill and increased as we went up hill.

I do love a project that starts with a question. I have a feeling that next time we go walking, the Boy is going to be a lot more interested in the map.

Sharing. Good idea.

The Playground Mafia: a book review

The Playground Mafia book reviewI have been standing in our school playground for over nine years. Not continuously. Obviously. Although there are times when it feels like it. No.  Just at the start and end of each school day.

At first it was great. I will talk to anyone, pretty much. I met the other parents, caught up with friends and talked to older parents who knew what was going on. A complete godsend to any new school parent.

As the years have elapsed, my enthusiasm has decidedly waned.

walking home

Don’t get me wrong, I still love picking up my children and catching up with their day. The difference is that most of my friends have either gone back to work or their children walk home by themselves. So no playground catch-up time. Plus, I’m now the older parent who knows what is going on. Well, most of the time. Novelty has gone. I should have left at the same time as my Eldest packed up and whizzed off to secondary school. Except, at that point, I had two more children and another five years to go. (Two and half years now left …and counting)

Secondary school is a contrast. For a while it made me appreciate the end-of-day primary school ritual. There is no standing in the playground waiting for a 13 year old to swan out of class cemented to her gaggle of giggling friends, where everyone seems to tower over you, except the teachers.

owl brooch on bag

There is no chance to learn from long established secondary school parents, or reacquaint with adults you’ve not seen since toddler group. Unless you head along to a PTA social event. Now, I need to rely on school communication and my …now what do they call them…young person to keep me informed. This last avenue of information is strictly on a need-to-know-basis, of course.

It was with a renewed sense of curiosity that I started reading “The Playground Mafia“. My nine and a half years of playground observation have not gone passed without a fair amount of human watching. I was intrigued to see if the categories fitted in with my experience.

The Playground Mafia is set out as a field guide and written with humour. It has a fairly comprehensive list of types of parents that can be encountered in the playground as the school children escape their classes. I noticed no grandparents or other carers, but I’m guessing that the authors needed to draw a line somewhere. Although, I think this was a mistake, as both of these categories certainly are part of the playground dynamics.

The Playground Mafia book review page

Categories include Pushy Mum, One-son Mum, Helicopter Mum and Flaky Mum, who I can recognize. There is also Sporty dad, Toyboy Dad and Midlife Crisis Dad who I’ve not spotted in our playground.

I couldn’t help sniggering as I read. Yes, I spotted some friends and I spotted some characteristics in others. As I read on, it became slightly repetitive, but as already explained, the novelty of the playground has worn thin for me. It’s the sort of book that is best dipped into, rather than being read cover to cover.

I also could not help thinking that our playground isn’t quite so racey as the one in the book. Either that or I have been oblivious to all the signs of extra dubious activities.

If you have spent any time waiting to pick up children, whether at school or an after school club, you will spot somebody in this book that you recognize. Failing that there is a section at the back for cocktails and also collective nouns for the different categories, which might well appeal.

lilac and fizzy apple

The end message seems to be to find the like minded people in your playground. From my experience, I’d say that is great advice.

I’ll be leaving this out for my friends to read, next time they come over. Or maybe I should leave it on the school bench at pick up time and just watch to see who takes it home.


Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge as part of the Britmums Book Club, which I thorougly recommend. All opinions are my own and honest. I was under no pressure from PTA Mum. Really.

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Sharing. Good idea.

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