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Goal, Objective or Purpose of Activity:
At the end of the activity participants will be: more comfortable in boats; better able to navigate; more familiar with body of water; able to name three types of bottom composition; and, sail a compass heading
Appropriate Age Level: Any
Minimum/Maximum Number of Participants: 1 – 200+
Set-up Time Required: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Activity Time Required: 1+ hour (entire season or more)
Space Requirements: classroom, normal sailing area
1) Create a Lead Line/Sounding Line with: Line marked in feet or meters and weight for end of line (i.e. mushroom or danforth anchor, bucket filled with cement)
2) Poster board
4) Notepads/Note paper (one for each boat)
5) Compass (one for each boat)
6) Parallel rules (optional)
Procedure for Teaching:
1) Participants are going chart the body of water they are sailing in by taking depth soundings, checking bottom composition, finding currents and normal water movement.
2) Activity – Part I: Classroom Introduction:
We are going to be cartographers and map our body of water. Use chart to explain concepts (i.e. soundings, landmarks, compass rose). We will improve our boat control, steer a compass heading and need the help of every individual on the boat. Instruct participants how to take a compass heading (how? Resource?)
3) Activity – Part II: On-water Sampling
This can be done with paddles (canoe or hands) or with wind. Evenly space boats out and give them a compass heading they are going to follow. Similar to a start of a race. By time intervals, random by instructor or specific distance have the boats take a depth check with weighted line. Participants will keep track of information on note pads. You can get as specific as the group allows. Spend an hour taking depths and then come together to create your chart.
4) Activity – Part III: Classroom Plotting
An instructor traces or draws the boundary of your body of water on a poster board. Scale can be set (another lesson) or estimated. The whole group marks their routes in pencil by freehand or parallel rules and compass headings (helps to trace compass rose). Participants then record depths, bottom composition, whatever was found. Displaying this chart on the wall and continue making improvements. With more people each team or small group can make their own chart. Everyone loves to see their work on display. The possibilities are endless.
1) One group chart or individual chart (in their log books)
1) Use charts to plan a scavenger hunt or trip
2) Sailing a mark or specific compass heading
3) Study history of cartography
1) How did it go? What could we have done to make the chart more accurate?
2) What other attributes would it be useful to measure? How might we do that?
Contributor(s): Peter Baumgartner, Seacamp (Big Pine Key, Florida)