Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welcome to Virginia

Middle school and high school students still enjoy hands on projects to enhance their learning.   Honestly, sometimes it's just fun to get to make something and get away from books for a while.   This allows students to dive a little deeper into their subject and spend a little time being creative as well.

As I said last week's history project, salt dough is a fun, easy medium to work with and fairly inexpensive.    Salt dough is also flexible in the ways you can use it from building material to land formations and even crafts (we'll discuss that in another post).

This week Olivia needed to create and label a topographic map of any state, so she chose her home state of Virginia.   Luckily, we'd picked up a Virginia map over the weekend and this came in quite handy as she made her project.

First of course you'll need to create your salt dough.  Your basic recipe is 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1/3 cup of water, stir and and more water as necessary.

Once your dough has reached the correct consistency, lay it out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and work out the shape of your land mass.   Be sure to create mountains, valleys and other uneven spaces prior to baking.    Bake your creation at 200 degrees for an hour or so (depending on thickness) or allow it to air dry for several days.
Once your map is baked or dried, now it's time to begin paint.  Acrylic paints work well on salt dough.  Paint mountains one color, lowlands a different color, then allow the paint to dry.
 
Study your map or atlas to get a better idea of where rivers, forests and other notable areas are to be placed on your map.
Once you've gotten all of your waterways painted, you can make city flats for prominent cities.  Toothpicks, sticky notes and a little clear tape will do the trick nicely.

 
In addition to major cities, we also added a few family and friends just for grins and giggles.
Now you've finished your handy dandy topographic map and can share it with all the world (like I'm doing now, ahem).
Do your older students still enjoy  hands on learning projects?
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