Grade levels: 7-10

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:
  1. Create 2-dimensional scale models of mountains and other features.
  2. Gain an appreciation for the actual height of Mount Logan.
  3. Understand the basic workings of scale.
  • large construction paper (paper rolls)
  • photo of Mount Logan (see website)
  • a lot of wall space
  • markers, glue, etc...
  • calculators
Lesson Process:
1. Introduce the idea of scale by drawing two grids on the board with a simple shape or picture in one of them. Mark the grid lines 1km, 2km, 3km etc... on the grid with the picture, and 1cm, 2cm, 3cm, etc... on the blank. Tell the students to imagine that the 1km grid is actually the real item in the world, and you want to make an exact drawing of it; that you want to make an exact copy of this shape but one which will fit on a piece of paper. Draw their attention to the km on one grid and the cm to the other. Draw the shape in the second grid. Now, tell students that when we make an exact scale drawing like that, we have to say how big the original was. We have represented each kilometer on the original by one centimeter on the grid. We write it like this: 1cm:1km. However, we have to go further. We have to use the same units. 1cm: _____cm? Show the process: there are 100 cm in one meter, and 1000 meters in one kilometer. 100 x 1000 = 100,000 cm. So our scale is 1:100,000. Show them that they can then use any unit of measurement: cm, inches, mm, thumb widths, etc. and multiply that by 100,000 to get the original size correctly (Optional: at this point, hand out a 9 x 15 design on a piece of paper to students. They must exactly replicate the design in a 3 x5 cm grid, stating their scale at the end of it).

2. Using what you have learned of scale and the photo of Mount Logan, make a scale drawing of the mountain. Students should make a scale drawing for their notebooks, stating the scale they have used. Choose two students who have earned a special privilege to create the scale mountain for the wall. Make a 2-2.5 m 2-dimensional paper mountain for the wall, stating scale on the side of it. You will be adding to the mountain later in the class. Include and identify any landforms or features, if possible.

3. As the first few students finish their drawings, have them find the tallest human-made feature they can find the height of (use the internet to find the Eiffel tower, Empire State Building, CN tower, etc...). See if they can find the tallest skyscraper in existence. Make sure they find the height. They can now make a scale model of the feature to compare to the paper Mount Logan on the wall. They must use the same scale as did the students who made the mountain! (Discuss why this is important). Tape or glue the buildings etc. beside or on top of Mount Logan to gain an understanding of just how tall that mountain really is.