This week we started to look at contours. I gave out a number of 1:25000 OS maps, from the OS Getamap subscription service, that showed the Coniston Fell Race route. We started by talking about what a contour line was, then how they described the shape of the land. We looked for the steep areas, the flat areas, valleys and ridges.
The question most often asked is “how do you tell a ridge from a valley”. I showed how the rivers were in the valleys and also talked about the benefit of looking at the contours when in the area, as that gives an immediate perspective (assuming you know where you are).
Mark asked about the Harvey Map series, and said he thought these were easier to read, especially for the contours. We had a look a a Harvey map, and the general impression was that it is easier to see the contour shapes on that type of map.
After a break we went on to practise more compass bearing work. We laid out a grid as shown here. The cones were arranged in rectangles so that the bearings were 30 degrees to the West or East of North or South. This allowed me to use the same compass bearing cards from the previous exercises to create courses through the grid. People started at one letter and finished at another (usually, some courses ended up the same). Adam and I both had the answer sheets.
We paired people up, where necessary, and everyone took turns doing a course. This worked rather well and people were getting very confident by the end.
It is amazing to see how competent 8/9 year olds can be doing this sort of exercise.
I wrapped up by talking about what they had practised, and about how we are going to go on tour after Easter to all of the local evening events. There seems to be a deal of enthusiasm for this. It is made much more complex than it should be as the full details have not yet been released. Must tell them about the schools events too!