Math and Tracks

Vi Hart, my favorite YouTube mathematician, recently posted this video about going for a walk after a snow fall.  She has some great ideas about things to look for in the snow.

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3D Animal Tracks

This website contains 3D models of many Canadian Animal tracks.  They create the models by taking many (20 plus) photos of a track found in the wild from different angles.  In addition to the digital 3D models they also have created 3D printer STL files so if you have access to a 3D printer you can print out the models to show kids in the field.  The site also has instructions for taking your own photos of tracks you may come across to add to their database.  That might be a fun project for Pathfinders or Rangers.

 

The 3d animal tracks project

Plaster Animal Tracks

You will need:

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Something to mix in suck as large plastic bags or old ice cream tubs
  • A stick or paint stir stick
  • tracks in mud or snow
  • Cardboard  strips (optional)
  • Vaseline (optional)

Steps:

  1. Find or make tracks.  Ideally you locate tracks in nature that have been made by wild animals.  However, you can use an old cast to press new tracks.  This makes a handy backup plan if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to find good tracks or if you have a large unit.
  2. Clear away any brush or debris from around the track, so you have a clean work area.
  3. If you wish, create a cardboard collar around the track to limit the spread of the plaster.  Coat the inside of the collar in Vaseline so it can be removed later.
  4. Mix your Plaster of Paris.  Follow the instructions on the package but in general you are looking for two parts plaster to one part water.  You will need to work quickly to make you mold before the plaster starts to dry.
  5. Pour your plaster over the track.
  6. Allow at least 20 minutes to dry.  If it is cold or really wet this may take longer.
  7. Once the plaster is dry, pry it up off the ground and rinse off extra dirt in water.

Here is a video showing a similar technique:

Be Prepared at Camp

These are a series of skits intended to help get the girls to discuss what should be on a camp kit list and why.  These were for a residential camp in November so if you are using this idea at another time of year you may need to adjust the scenarios.  Each scenario was given to a different patrol.

Pretend it is time to go to bed at camp. Create two short skits (no more then 2 minutes each) showing what will happen if you have brought what you need to be prepared for bedtime and if you aren’t prepared for bedtime. What items should be on our kit list to ensure we are prepared to sleep?

Pretend it is time to go to get dressed in the morning at camp. Create two short skits (no more then 2 minutes each) showing what will happen if you have brought what you need to be prepared for the day and if you aren’t prepared for the day. What items should be on our kit list to ensure we are prepared to for the day?

Pretend it is time to go to go for a hike at camp. It is a cold fall afternoon. Light snow is falling from the sky. Create two short skits (no more then 2 minutes each) showing what will happen if you have brought what you need to be prepared for hiking in the cold and if you aren’t prepared for hiking in the cold. What items should be on our kit list to ensure we are prepared to be outside in cold weather?

Pretend it is time to go to play active games outside at camp. It is raining lightly outside. Create two short skits (no more then 2 minutes each) showing what will happen if you have brought what you need to be prepared to be outside in wet weather and if you aren’t prepared to be outside in wet weather. What items should be on our kit list to ensure we are prepared to outside in wet weather?

Pretend it is time to go outside and roast hot dogs. It is unseasonably warm. Create two short skits (no more then 2 minutes each) showing what will happen if you brought what you need to be prepared to roast hot dogs in warm weather and what will happen if you are not prepared. What items should be on our kit list to ensure we are prepared for warm weather and fires?

Finding North without a Compass

This article from wikihow nicely illustrates how several methods for finding north if you are without a compass (or materials to make one).  It is best to have several tricks up your sleeve as they are often dependent on factors like the sun or stars.  Some of the ideas covered include:

Stick Method

Put a stick into the ground and mark the end of the shadow with a pebble.  Wait 15 min and mark the new end of the shadow.  Stand with one foot on each pebble and the stick behind you.  You’ll now be facing north.

Polaris

The star Polaris (or North Star) is approximately north and is visible throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  Find Polaris and then draw a mental line straight down to the horizon.

Observe Nature

Moss often (but not always) grows on the north side of trees where it is the most shaded.

Paracord Bracelet

Paracord Bracelets are both attractive and useful.  In an emergency they can be un-knotted for 7 or 8 feet of rope.  Paracord comes in different weights and if you intend to use the rope for survival purposes go for a heavier gage.  I was able to buy a big bag of multi-coloured buckles from Amazon at a good price.  Other units bought kits at a dollar store but those clips were smaller and more fragile.

The knot will be familiar to anyone who has done macrame before.  We found it useful to have the girls mark one of their knoting ropes either with a small knot at the end or a piece of tape.  Then it was easy for them to remember that one rope always went over and one rope always went under no matter what side they started the knot on.