Imaginary Island – Week 9

Week 9 saw the kids looking at map scale – and practicing scaling up their islands from their initial half page to full page sketches.

Last week the kids had some time to brainstorm and sketch their island outlines, and they are working towards their first painted landform map of their island.

We quickly looked at a couple of landform maps – we discussed that our world map was not true to size, but a scaled down representation. I had a continent map that was printed on the same sized cardboard, and we noticed that the scale of the two maps couldn’t possibly be the same. We looked at the scales on the bottom of the maps and talked about the numbers we saw.

In preparation for our work I’d done a couple of things:
First, for each child, I printed a grid on tracing paper. The grid ended up being 5 squares along the short edge, with 7 along the long edge on a half sheet of paper. I scaled this up, and printed 5 squares by 7 squares on a sheet of watercolor paper per child. I used a grid paper generator such as this one. Googling ‘custom size graph paper generator’ will bring up other options if the link fails. (See the links to pdf resources at the end of the post.) I cut the 9×12 watercolor paper down to 8.5×11 so that it fit through my printer.

Then, I used Wikipedia to get a list of the largest islands in the world. I narrowed this list down to about 20 islands I thought the kids knew, and added length and width information for each island. I also divided the longest measurement by 7 so that I knew what the scale a map of the island would be if we were to draw it on our pre-printed sheets. (See the links to pdf resources at the end of the post.)

We used this information to discuss about how big each child would like their island to be, and came up with an amount of miles for each side of the square to represent. The kids labeled both their original sketch and the watercolor paper with their scales.

We taped the tracing paper over their sketch, and used the grid to help scale up the island drawing onto their watercolor paper. Next week, we’ll paint or color!

Here are some useful PDFs that might help you with your imaginary island work:
5 x 7 grid for watercolor paper
10 x 7 grid to cut into half-sheets to go over initial sketch
Island data sheet