Monday, September 21, 2009

How NOT to Make Your Own Geography Materials: Part One, Land and Water Forms

I finally got off of my rump this weekend and started making my geography materials. I thought I would begin with the land and water forms. This is a material I do recommend making yourself. The least expensive set I have found to date run $84 and I know I can do it for less than $10.
I thought I would follow Gettman's instructions and make them out of Plaster of Paris. I haven't used Plaster of Paris (if ever) since elementary school. I mixed my powder and water and prepared to "make a roughly finished Plaster of Paris formation in the desired shape" as Gettman so calmly stated. In my mind, I pictured the powder and water forming a claylike substance I would form with my fingers and let dry. I realized I was on the wrong track when my batch of Plaster of Paris was the consistency of whole milk. I knew I was even further off track when I read the warning on the container that contact with skin would burn.

So, I went on to Yahoo Groups "Montessori Makers." I knew most people do it with plasticine, but wanted to see what people had to say about Plaster of Paris forms. I read that I would have to make a "mold" out of sand, cover it with plastic wrap, pour in the plaster and let it dry. Next, I would paint and waterproof the product. Then I read that after all of these steps the plaster shapes would have to be glued to the landform and would rot.

It should not be surprise that the above images are not of my finished landforms. It should also not be a surprise that I aborted my landform project until plasticine can be procured. I went ahead and began making my sandpaper globe. Stay tuned for "How NOT to make your own geography materials: Part Two, Sand and Water Globe." Grrr.


  1. Here is what I did

    Hope it helps. I messed up the globe too. It is constantly dropping sand and you can see right through it!

    oh well, you learn!

  2. I'll try and put pictures of my landforms on my blog. But in case I don't get a chance to do it, what I did was just make them out of brown Sculpey clay and I put them in the disposable containers. I didn't even bake it. Just put them out two at a time, and then mush it down and made two more. They got the idea, and it was SUPER cheap and easy. They would even sometimes make their own with playdoh (although I didn't let them pour water in the playdoh ones.)

    For my elementary kids, I had them make them on their own instead of making them for them ahead of time.

  3. He he. That is hilarious! I'm sure you'll have better luck with clay! It's always nice to see that I'm not the only one that just jumps right into things! Can't wait to see the globes. :)

  4. Ack! I'm getting ready to try this one for the SECOND time! The first stuff I used molded. I'm going with non-hardening clay this time.