Imaginary Island – Week 11

We had a fabulous time making elevation maps of our islands today! Most of the families in our group had one sick person, so we decided to do this lesson over zoom, and it worked really well.

Ahead of time the kids/parents had prepared an outline of their island resized to fit under a clear plastic tub with a clear lid (like a spinach tub), and a blank page with an island outline, to be colored in later. My kids traced an outline of their painted island with tracing paper, then used carbon paper to transfer that tracing to a blank sheet in their notebooks. We then photocopied that transferred image, sizing it down until we got to the right size. We taped the smaller image under the tub, then the kids used Plasticine to fill in the outline. While they made their islands I showed a few examples of elevation maps from geography books. Referring back to last week’s painted landform map, they could build up mountains or make valleys/depressions for lakes, etc.

Next, using a Sharpie, we created a scale on the side of the tub. We marked the height of the highest point of the island, then divided the island height into about 4 or 5 sections. We put the lids on the boxes and the kids outlined their islands on the lid with Sharpie.

Then, they poured water into the tub up to the level of the lowest line. They put the lids back on and outlined where the water level covered the island. This was repeated until the island was completely submerged.

We then transferred the lines from the tub lid to a pre-prepared island outline on paper, and colored the corresponding sections in to create an elevation map. They also colored a map key. We talked about what it means when the lines are close together, or what the slope of a hill might be like if the lines are far apart.

Finally, the kids chose the height of a real mountain to get an idea of realistic mountain heights, and divided out the height range of each color band, which they then added to their elevation key.