Forest Activity: Land Survey
Describe Your Schoolyard
Illinois State Web Module used: Forest module section on explorersí surveys and journals.
Purpose: to help students understand the importance and mechanics of making a land survey
grid by measuring, marking, and note taking.
Objective: students will be able to draw an approximate map of the land they surveyed after
measuring the land of their school yard with given materials and making notes of landmarks
and measurements.
Grade Levels: elementary and junior high
Time Required: one-hour period or two shorter ones (perhaps in coordination with math
Materials for each group of three students:
A rope 12 feet long
Duct tape
Markers for corners of grid: bricks, milk cartons filled with sand, stones, etc.
Graph paper
Optional colored pencils
Motivation: Class discussion of Web page on land surveys and other materials on the subject.
Topics include careers, skills involved, importance for land purchasers, hardships of the job,
tools used, and comparisons to today.
Procedure: Choose ahead of time what the students will be surveying; size of whole grid; how
many sections will be needed (how many groups of three). Each groupís grid will be 12 feet by
12 feet. Grid sections will be contiguous.
24 by 48 grid
8 sections
Preparing students: Cut î piece of duct tape to wrap around the rope at 12î intervals. These
will allow them to pinpoint where objects are on the ground on their grid lines.
Two students of each group will be measuring their grid by laying out the rope, placing corner
markers, and counting feet to mark objects. The third member will take notes on what objects
are found and where they are. Students should be encouraged to make sketch maps showing
the locations of objects.