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All things of this earth are born of a physical dimension or as an extent of something. The relative size of something as it relates to its context or environment, or as it is compared to other things, is scale. Scale is almost always in relation to something else, as in small, smaller, smallest or big, bigger, biggest! Scale can also imply the ratio between the size of something and a representation of it; small can actually be large!

Scale can be an increase or decrease in size or magnitude. Maps are scaled representations of areas. Models are miniaturizations of physical ideas or realities. Scale shifts can reveal or conceal information, thereby communicating ideas. Scale relates one thing to another and connects all of life in the universe. Our interpretation and awareness of all the mysteries of our universe, our perception of things and the way we view the world, is based on relationships of the size of objects in space.

Whoever answers and becomes master of scale will surmount all time!

Activity 1 – Ant View / Bird's Eye View

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Imagine that you are really small. You are so small, in fact, that you are the size of an ant! What does your world look like? Make an ant’s view drawing. Stretch your imagination! Next fly up into the sky. Fly above the tops of all of the buildings. Look down on your house and neighborhood. Draw the buildings and streets, and the houses, cars and trees in miniature. Draw your world in a bird’s eyes view.

Scale can surprise!

Scale can show point of view!

Activity 2 – Make A Scaled Drawing of Your Bedroom

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In this activity, you will be measuring and recording your bedroom. First, make a sketch which shows the walls of your room. Make an opening for doors and for any windows. Using a tape measure or a ruler, measure the width and length of your room, noting the width and location of the doors and windows. Now measure the basic pieces of furniture as well. After you are satisfied that you have the dimensions that you need on your sketch, you are ready to make a measured, scaled drawing of your bedroom. Take a piece of 8 x 11 grid paper. Each square grid should represent one foot (1’-0"). First draw the outline of your room. Add ½ foot or ½ of a square thickness for the walls. Place the openings of the windows and doors. Next place the size and position of the furniture. Color your drawing.

You have scaled part of the world!

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Activity 3 – Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear!

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Fold a sheet of graph paper in thirds. In the first third, sketch a section of a room as if it were a box with you sitting in a chair. Make the height and width of the room narrow and low. Put a normal door in the back wall. Next, copy yourself, but draw yourself in a room that is medium size tall but the same width as the first room sketch. Keep the door the same but draw a window above the door. In the final third, copy your sitting figure the same scale again, but place yourself in the tallest room. Make an oversize door on the wall. How do you think you would feel in room 1, 2, and 3? What scale of a room is intimate vs. cramped? What scale is monumental? Which room do you feel comfortable in? Compare the scale of each space. (What is the size of the room relative to you?) Did the scale of the room have anything to do with why you felt the way you did? Submit your analysis.

Let the scale speak to you!

Activity 4 – nine scales of home

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In this exercise, you will start investigating something you already know…home sweet home. While a large percentage of the world’s population is homeless, you are here with the support of a home. You will create a consilience of scales poster investigating your home according to nano technology, pattern, objects, space, architecture, neighborhood, urban, region and the world.

9. World: Show the location on the globe where your house is located. Go to Google Earth or print or draw a small image of the globe, locating your house.
8. Region: Show the region that your city is in.
7. Urban: Locate the city in a line drawn map.
6. Neighborhood: Next, use GoogleMaps and zoom into your city. Print a 1 mile by 1 mile view. Color in black everything that is private property (homes, businesses, etc.; leave white everything that is public like streets, parks, plazas.
5. Architecture: Draw an elevation or view of your house. Watercolor it.
4. Space: Do a pencil drawing of one of the main rooms of your house; it is easy to draw over a photograph. Feel free to include friends and family in your drawing!
3. Object: Select an object in your house that is important to you. Draw or photograph this object and write a written description of why you chose it.
2. Pattern: Draw, photograph, or rub one or more patterns you remember in your house. Look at tile patterns, carpets, bedspreads, wall paper, floor or ceiling textures.
1. Nano: Finally, look for use of nano technology in your house, and document it. Explain what it does to make your life more convenient.

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  • How is a scale drawing different than a life-size drawing?
  • Why is the scale drawing important in design?
  • What is a scale?
  • A floor plan does all of these except ______.
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