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….. Making pretty things
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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.

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

 

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KS3

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.

Dear Daughter: About Maths

Peaceful Hours no 65 Farmers wife letters Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter

I’m on a roll this year. Already another quilt block complete. I have two sewn up, but when I suggested that I use both with this letter, you sweetly declared that you’d prefer one square to one letter. No problem.

Every block pattern is measured and scaled up on to my square of freezer paper. Multiplying and dividing the lengths until I can replicate the pattern, just so. Then cut up, ready for the english paper piecing. It has to be precise. I number them so they’re sewn up in the same order. I enjoy this process as much as the stitching.

And here comes the topic of my letter to you: Maths. You chose your GCSE Options last week. By the end, there was a tough choice to make and you made it. One throw away comment was that it was a shame you couldn’t drop one of the compulsory core subjects. Maybe Maths. *internal gasp from your mother. reach for chair.* Continue reading

Dear Daughter: About Options

Periwinkle from The Farmers wife lettersDear Daughter

Another block complete to add to your Dear Daughter quilt. This one is called Periwinkle. I like the name, although the pattern reminds me more of the compasses found on old maps. The ones where only the North is labelled.

With 111 quilt blocks to choose from the book, sometimes it’s difficult to settle on which one I’d like to do next. (Between you and me, sometimes I just like the name of the quilt block!)

The decision process can take a while. *twiddles thumbs*  Add in the time taken to choose the fabric, and I can deliberate over the choice longer than it takes to stitch the pieces together.

Periwinkle withThe Farmers wife letters book open I usually lay out all the blocks I’ve completed. Fourteen this time. Rearranging. Wondering about the colour I’ll use to separate them all eventually. Making sure my fabric choices this time, work with my general theme. Oh, the choices.

Making choices and seeing the way forward has been a recurring topic of conversation between us recently. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing your options at school. I’ve admired the way you have analysed the possibilities. Laying them out. Rearranging them. Checking they fit in with the bigger picture. Not unlike my sewing decision. 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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