Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Map Your Drawings Into Snow Art: 
mapping, geography, orienteering, snowshoeing, physical fitness, art, winter activities

The Spark: 

Have you ever followed animal tracks in the snow?  Or dropped on your back in the snow and flapped your arms and legs to create a snow angel? Or simply run across a freshly fallen bank of snow to create your own tracks?  We have... and it's loads of fun!

We have been looking at structures and habitats and have noticed that animals, without realizing it, create a sort of mapping pattern in the snow from their habitat to their feeding spot, to their play spot and so forth.  They sort of map out their neighbourhood without even realizing it!

So, we have created a "critter town" map on paper and have begun an exploration of mapping as a process of looking at the land and plotting it on paper.  But, what of the reverse?  How about drawing something on paper and then plotting that drawing on land?

Follow That Hunch:

"I want to make a drawing of the snow angel that I made in the snow."

"I have a hunch that if we follow the squirrel tracks then we can see where he goes all day long and know what he does."

"Don't walk on the tracks or you will mess up their town."

"This morning there were no tracks and I ran across the snow and made my own."

Take Action:

* Before you begin: We recommend that you read Snowy Valentine, by: David Petersen

Snowflake Snow Art

1.  Draw a simple shape like a snowflake and measure the largest angles as well as each line to the centre of the snowflake:
For our first attempt, we sketched the snowflake freehand as a 'drawing'.  You can also use a protractor to create more elaborate and exact drawings with older children.  Measure each of the angles to the centre of the snowflake.  We tried to measure the smaller ones at the end of the snowflake design but it was too much for us once we got outdoors so we took creative licence to draw (with our snowshoes) freehand.

2.  Make sure your drawing is to scale before you get outdoors:
Since every measurement that you take will be from the end point of the snowflake to the middle of the snowflake, then if the measurement is 30 cm, for example, it will be thirty snowshoe steps.  Our scale was 1cm= 1 snowshoe step.

3.  Plot NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, AND WEST on your page:
The top of the page should be considered the north end and so forth.  This plotting will help you with the orienteering outdoors when using the compass.  If you are working with small children then just use the compass to find your first direction north.  For the angles, you can make cardboard cutouts for them to use.  Otherwise, use your compass outdoors when finding true north as well as all of the marked angles on your drawing.

4.  Getting to your "snow art" site:
Take your compass, snowflake drawing, and snowshoes outdoors.  Walk to your site with your boots on.  DO NOT USE SNOWSHOES TO GET TO THE SITE.  When you reach your starting point find true north with your compass to orient you towards your path.  Make sure your drawing is always facing in the correct direction.  North is always north, south is always south and so forth no matter how you turn your body while mapping.  A teacher, parent or caregiver should always have a photocopy on hand so that they can double check the angle measurements before you take your steps in the snow.  Remember:  You cannot erase a mistake in the snow so double check the angle and the number of steps.

5.  Latch on your snowshoes and head towards true north, counting out your steps towards the centre of the  snowflake:

6.  How many steps to the centre of your snowflake?
Each snowshoe step should equal one centimetre:
Make sure to mark you centre point when you get to the middle of the snowflake as this will serve as the point where you measure all of your angles with your compass.  If you are working with smaller children, then use cardboard cut-outs of the angle measurements to make each consecutive snowflake branch.

7.  Take creative liberties:
This snowflake came form a freehand drawing so let's get creative with the smaller angle branches at the tips of the snowflake.  We had a difficult time measuring the smaller angles with our compass so we "drew" them in freehand with our snowshoes, of course!

The Finished Snowflake


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