Felt Topography

Topographic maps provide us with a bird’s eye view of three dimensional surfaces. With the use of contour lines, shading, and precise measurements, these representations show us how land rises into rock formations, or slopes gently towards a stream. This project is a great accompaniment to lessons on topography, where children can apply their knowledge to create unique looking landscapes using layers of felt.

Materials

  • pencil and paper for sketching
  • hard felt for base
  • felt
  • scissors
  • white glue
Instructions

1. Have children look at the following links below to understand what topographic maps are:

http://www.nh.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/topomaps.html

http://geology.isu.edu/geostac/Field_Exercise/wildfire/topography.htm

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/to/Topography

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/to/Topographic_map

http://www.ehow.com/list_7359002_basics-topographical-map-reading-kids.html

2. Children can now make landscapes of their own. With pencil and paper, have them make sketches using the shapes they saw in the topographic maps they viewed. Also, have a look at the small drawing in the photo above. As you can see, it can be kept simple using basic shapes.

3. Select a piece of stiff felt to use as the base. Use regular (soft) felt for the rest. Both are available at art supply stores, and some fabric stores. Areas built up like mountains require cutting out similar shapes which become slightly smaller with each layer. It’s helpful to trace the shape out on the felt using a pencil, then cutting inside the pencil lines to adjust the size. Different colours of felt can also be combined together.

3. Finally, felt layers can be glued together using small amounts of white glue.

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