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Contour Line Activity By Billie Diane Frame Martinsburg North Middle School 1.On the piece of cardboard, form the clay into the shape of a mountain. Include hills and valleys, steep slopes and gradual slopes. 2.Lay a thick book on the table beside the “mountain.” 3.Have the student sight across the book to the mountain and put marks all the way around the mountain at the same level as the top of the book. 4.Draw a line around the mountain with a toothpick, connecting the marks made in step 3. 5.Have the student stand above their mountain and look directly down at the line just drawn. Ask these questions: Does the line form a circle? What shape does it form? What might the line represent? 6.Use a thinner book and draw a line further up the mountainside. 7.Stack two books and draw a line further up the mountainside. 8.Have the student stand over their mountain and look down at the contour lines. Ask the question: Are the lines the same distance apart all the way around the mountain? Where are they closer together? Where are they further apart? 9.Have the student draw two views of their mountain on paper. One will be a sketch of the profile of the mountain. Ask them to devise a way to show what the mountain looks like from an airplane. When finished tell the students they have drawn a Contour Map. 1.On the piece of cardboard, form the clay into the shape of a mountain. Include hills and valleys, steep slopes and gradual slopes. 2.Lay a thick book on the table beside the “mountain.” 3.Have the student sight across the book to the mountain and put marks all the way around the mountain at the same level as the top of the book. 4.Draw a line around the mountain with a toothpick, connecting the marks made in step 3. 5.Have the student stand above their mountain and look directly down at the line just drawn. Ask these questions: Does the line form a circle? What shape does it form? What might the line represent? 6.Use a thinner book and draw a line further up the mountainside. 7.Stack two books and draw a line further up the mountainside. 8.Have the student stand over their mountain and look down at the contour lines. Ask the question: Are the lines the same distance apart all the way around the mountain? Where are they closer together? Where are they further apart? 9.Have the student draw two views of their mountain on paper. One will be a sketch of the profile of the mountain. Ask them to devise a way to show what the mountain looks like from an airplane. When finished tell the students they have drawn a Contour Map. One 50-minute class period. As an extension activity, have the student exchange contour maps with a classmate. The student will look at the classmate’s map only (not the clay model). They should each try to visualize and sketch what the other’s mountain looks like just by looking at the map drawing. (Then they can look at the actual mountains and see if they were right.) At this point, each classmate can try to construct a new clay model using the contour map and the original materials only. When models are complete, comparisons can be made for accuracy. More contour lines can be added by stacking various width books. Just remember to keep all lines from intersecting each other. Information obtained through constructing a model or exchanging maps with classmates can be charted or graphed. The entire class can assemble their hills and valleys to create a landscape. Locating some of the highs and lows on the earth will help the student visualize their planet. As an extension activity, have the student exchange contour maps with a classmate. The student will look at the classmate’s map only (not the clay model). They should each try to visualize and sketch what the other’s mountain looks like just by looking at the map drawing. (Then they can look at the actual mountains and see if they were right.) At this point, each classmate can try to construct a new clay model using the contour map and the original materials only. When models are complete, comparisons can be made for accuracy. More contour lines can be added by stacking various width books. Just remember to keep all lines from intersecting each other. Information obtained through constructing a model or exchanging maps with classmates can be charted or graphed. The entire class can assemble their hills and valleys to create a landscape. Locating some of the highs and lows on the earth will help the student visualize their planet. Develop the concept of representing the earth, or small portions of the earth, on paper. Explain scale as representations in miniature form. Develop the concept of representing the earth, or small portions of the earth, on paper. Explain scale as representations in miniature form. Clay (various colors) Pencil Paper Thick book Thin book Piece of cardboard Colored pencils Toothpick Clay (various colors) Pencil Paper Thick book Thin book Piece of cardboard Colored pencils Toothpick Journal entries describe the activity and results. Entries must be concise, legible, accurate, and useful. A table of contents must be included and the pages numbered. A student definition of a contour line, what it represents, and some properties of contour line spacing should be included. Student must demonstrate an understanding of contour lines and contour maps by describing the landforms observed on an assigned map: These observations will be entered in the journal. Evaluation is also based on teacher observation, discussions with the student(s), and peer-group contract grading. Journal entries describe the activity and results. Entries must be concise, legible, accurate, and useful. A table of contents must be included and the pages numbered. A student definition of a contour line, what it represents, and some properties of contour line spacing should be included. Student must demonstrate an understanding of contour lines and contour maps by describing the landforms observed on an assigned map: These observations will be entered in the journal. Evaluation is also based on teacher observation, discussions with the student(s), and peer-group contract grading. None listed None listed. Modifications can easily be made depending on the grade level or the individual ability/interest of the students. Topographic maps and symbols can be introduced. Schedule a spokesperson from the state geological survey to present a program to the class. Contact a local surveyor and plan a local field trip to an on-sight surveying business. The teacher’s objective is not to present a thorough treatment on map reading, but to develop the concept of representing the earth on paper that can lead into further discussion and maps activities. Review all directions orally. Display them in the room at the same time. This will alleviate questions that may occur during the activity. Designating stations within the room and letting the students work cooperatively in groups will provide optimum learning situations for all. Modifications can easily be made depending on the grade level or the individual ability/interest of the students. Topographic maps and symbols can be introduced. Schedule a spokesperson from the state geological survey to present a program to the class. Contact a local surveyor and plan a local field trip to an on-sight surveying business. The teacher’s objective is not to present a thorough treatment on map reading, but to develop the concept of representing the earth on paper that can lead into further discussion and maps activities. Review all directions orally. Display them in the room at the same time. This will alleviate questions that may occur during the activity. Designating stations within the room and letting the students work cooperatively in groups will provide optimum learning situations for all. Objective Materials and Equipment Materials and Equipment Time Procedures Assessment Further Challenges Further Challenges Overview Teaching Suggestions Safety Note

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