Welcome to our blog.

….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

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

 

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craft activity for 8-10 year olds

25 toadstools sitting on a tray

What better way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon, after the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks? Making toadstool biscuits, of course. We had so much fun making these seasonal biscuits. The biscuits are just your everyday, run-of-the-mill sugar cookie recipe. Covered in white icing made from icing sugar. Continue reading

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.

How to make a patchwork bookmark

We needed an easy, creative activity today. We had snow, but not enough to entertain anyone more than 5 minutes outside. Just finger nipping cold, nose chilling wet. I don’t wish to sound greedy, but can someone send us enough to make a snowman next time, please? Continue reading

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

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