There’s some mapping skills in the Geometry and Spatial Sense section of our curriculum, so that’s the connection I’m writing about today. One of the Grade 1 big ideas is: “describe the relative locations of objects using positional language.” For Grade 2 students, one of the specific expectations is: “describe the relative locations (e.g., beside, two steps to the right of ) and the movements of objects on a map (e.g.,“The path shows that he walked around the desk, down the aisle, and over to the window.”)

The girls at our church go on a camping trip every summer for a few days. The girls have to be between the ages of 11 and 18 to go, but of course there are adult leaders. I’m been about a million times and I love it! We go to a place on Highway 144, north of Sudbury. It’s in the town of Levack, and just past Onaping Falls. This year I only needed to go for one night, so I had my two children with me. It was such a beautiful day that I decided we’d leave a bit earlier than necessary and stop at the Onaping Falls Lookout. A.Y. Jackson painted a painting called “Spring on the Onaping River” here.

Thinking I remembered the way, we set off on a trail. We got to here, but it was a dead end.

Back to the map we went!

Turns out we had followed the trail to the Handicap Lookout Area (it was wheelchair accessible.) We used the triangle to orient ourselves, then re-parked the car in the “picnic and parking area” closer to the trail-head. I wish I had a picture of the rocks we had to climb to get down into the river valley! It was a lot of work and I didn’t have time to take photos on account of trying not to fall and break my neck – or allow my children to do the same. At the bottom we enjoyed some time by the river.

After looking at the map, both children wanted to walk all the way to the lookout bridge, which we could easily see in the distance. However, after this short hike, we all agreed that the bridge would need to wait for another time. I think the trail would have been much easier after our descent, but I was already thinking about going back up the hill.

Car trips…or van trips…are a great time to practice lots of practical math skills. For a while we played a “game” of finding numbers higher or lower than 50 on the road. The speed limit was 90Kp/h, we had to go 400 m to the next turn, there were 17 km until we got to Sudbury, etc. We then challenged ourselves to figure out how far away from 50 each number would be. We mainly did this with the single- and double-digit numbers. I feel like this is all part of gaining spatial sense. By the end of the trip they were saying, “500 meters isn’t that far, right?” or “250 KM! That will take forever!”

We’re headed off on another road trip today – this time going south. Both of my children are weirdly obsessed with taking surveys. I’m going to challenge them to come up with some data they can gather while we are driving.

Finally, how beautiful is this: