Elevation - Surveying Activity for Kids

Earth Science Unit Study - Week 8: We measured the elevation of a hill and graphed the cross-section.

Surveying is the technique professionals use to measure and map the earth. Following Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science: Winning Experiments for Science Fairs and Extra Credit we performed a simple surveying operation to measure the elevation of a hill.

We measured our favorite sledding hill!
Using a level, two old broom handles, scissors, string, permanent marker, ruler and tape we made a simple tool used to measure elevation.

The first step was to mark the broom handle with measurements which could be read during our experiment.

The two broom handles were stood upright, side-by-side, and a 0 mark was made at the same height on both handles near the center of the pole. On one of the poles, distances of every 5 inches were marked above and below the 0 mark.

On the other pole, a string was tied tightly around the pole at the 0 mark and taped in place so it wouldn't move. The opposite end of the string, which was 60 inches long, was tied to the other pole loosely so it could slide up and down.

 Then we walked down the street to our favorite sledding hill.

Starting at the bottom of the hill, the string was made level by sliding it up or down the pole with the measurement marks. The height on the marked pole was recorded in a table as interval 1. Then the downhill pole was placed at the location of the uphill pole, and the uphill pole was brought farther up the hill. The string was stretched taught and leveled, the elevation was recorded as interval 2 and the process was repeated until the top of the hill was reached.

Upon returning home, the data points were transferred to a graph, and the graph was colored.

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  1. My son would love this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great activity. I especially love the drawing on the graph.

  3. Impressive! I love that your youngest took part too! Thanks for sharing with After School.


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