Joe and the Camera

'Joe and the Camera' cover design

“Look carefully at everything around you.  You will be surprised at what you see – a lot that is interesting, unusual, historical, has an interesting shape, pattern..”

Joe and the Camera continues the story of Joe who lives with his mum in Carlisle.  He is given a camera and with his grandad he sets out to develop his photographic skills whilst exploring the city.  There are some surprising and exciting results to this adventure.  Further information about the places visited is given in the notes at the end of the book and cross-curricular suggestions linked with the story can be found on this website. Sue Fox was a primary school head teacher before becoming a mathematics lecturer at the University of Cumbria.  She has co-written two maths books for student teachers.  Also written by Sue Fox: Joe and the Window 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9929949-0-7).

Irene Sanderson is an artist and illustrator who has her studio in the Eden Valley south of Carlisle. Proceeds from the sale of the Joe books will go to Carlisle Key opening doors for young people who need help, and also to two projects in Malawi: MOET, an orphanage and school and Malosa Community Based Organisation:  MACOBO, a rural community organisation. Printed by H & H Reeds Printers, Penrith on fsc paper. Joellen Publications ISBN 978-0-9929949-1-4

This letter has just arrived from an American couple who bought the book at the end of their long walk along the Hadrian Wall.                                                                                                                                           ” How lovely of you to let us have a “Joe and the Camera”.  We have about a day in Carlisle today because our walk today is only 5 miles.  We plan to use the map and info. in the book to help us explore.  I want to see the Chinese Garden near the Eden.  Thank you, thank you!”  Betsy and Dick, Newcastle, Maine.

Facts about railings and World War Two

The marks on the wall on page 7 are a clue to the remains of iron railings that were removed to make into munitions.  Aluminium saucepans were similarly collected.  It is thought that this may have been done to help people think they were part of the war effort rather than the metal actually being used.                    

This is rewarding to investigate because evidence of rails can easily be found.

Look for evidence of railings having been removed near you or your school.

Facts about Rickerby Park

Ideas for home or school from Rickerby Park

Follow the route taken by Joe and his grandad to explore Rickerby Park.  There is so much to see, from the Chinese Gardens to the stone circle. Make your own map showing your route and places of interest.  Use a key to identify these places.
  • Take a walk around your own area taking photos or drawing pictures of what takes your interest.  Draw a map of your walk and identify the special places.
  • Look carefully at everything on your walk; you will find patterns, shapes and interesting numbers and lettering. 
  • Make a  trail using close up photographs.

      World War 1                                                                                                                                                                  

The cenotaph, footbridge and Chinese Gardens all provide opportunities for research.

The time capsule found at the cenotaph is 2014 is an interesting discussion point.

  What would you put in a time capsule that would be of interest in 100 years ?                                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Joe would put a photo of himself with his Mum and Grandad, a street map of Carlisle, a football programme from Carlisle United,  a local paper, a fifty pence piece (because he likes the shape)………..what else?                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Note – Modern time capsules can be bought on-line from about £180.  They are air tight and waterproof!

         Wild life and plants

 The animals found in the area are carved on the totem pole.  Design one relevant to your area.  The animals can be as simple as insects and garden birds. The river at Rickerby Park is the Eden – it contains fish , birds and otters, small animals and plant life. The land at Rickerby Park – plant life and trees from the time when it was a Victorian Parkland with oaks, sycamores and limes to newly  planted trees for flood  protection.

Recreation What does a park need for the benefit of people using it?  Benches, litter bins, picnic tables, maps, interpretation panels, sign posts, lighting, toilets, car parks?  How much of these do you really need so as not to spoil the sense of countryside? River safety, what is needed for that?   Can you design wastebins, benches, signs etc. for Rickerby Park, a park local to you or your school grounds together with relevant symbols?

   Facts about the flood defences

1,800 properties and businesses were flooded in Carlisle in January 2005.  Cathy Newbury was commissioned by the Environment Agency to create Art on the Wall,  a riverside trail with ceramic plaques featuring the themes of flooding, the river, nature and wildlife, places of interest and trade and transport.

Joe visited the tile depicting the weather map of the United Kingdom on the day of the flood.  It was placed on a railing  featuring the historic Carlisle link to freight rail with images of signal box levers and engine parts in the design.

There are over 40 of these tiles still in place and they are well worth a hunt.


Ideas linked with the tiles

Make a collage of tiles you have designed to depict those people who are important to your home.  Guardians and family of course, but don’t forget the postman, dustbin men etc…

In school, make a series of tiles (laminated card does the job) of everyone of importance for the smooth running of the school; teachers of course but don’t forget those others such as the dinner ladies, postmen,  ground staff, librarians in vans etc…

There are some poems based of water sounds in the Art on the Wall trail. they were written by Jacob Polley and Pip Hall together with local children.

Make your own sound poems: maybe sounds of traffic, kitchen, playground, farm, seaside.  Think of your own categories. Poems can be individual or group work.Could you add percussion sounds to present your poem? has a resource on sound poems including ‘Sound Collector’ poem by Roger McGough and 3 day lesson planning.

     Ideas  for a shape party

      Design a party invitation for your ‘shape’  party and create a shape  menu.                                                                                            

Design and make a shape hat  with circles and lots of different polygons.                                                                                                                                                                                     

Design a meal on a paper plate. Model the food from clay, plasticine etc.  All the food must be square, circular or triangular … or if you are very clever, hexagonal or pentagonal.  Remember we are talking  about 2-D shapes so we are just thinking about the face of the food.                    

Look for Joel Penkman on the internet.  He is a UK based artist who paints sweets, biscuits and cakes that are so realistic it is hard to believe that they are not the real thing.

Arrange some sweets or biscuits and replicate the  design by painting.  A photograph of the study alongside the resulting art is rewarding.

More shape and maths.                                                                                                                                                                                                

Have a shape hunt.

Look out 3-D boxes; triangular prism Toblerone, polygonal Smarties tubes and cheese triangle boxes, square pyramid fererro rocher and cuboid choc boxes.  Cubes are hard to find but some paper hankie boxes are OK.

These boxes can be taken apart and deconstructed to find their faces( the sides).  For example a toblerone box has 2 triangles and 3 rectangles. Then count their edges and vertices(corners) and make a chart.

Shape faces vertices edges
Triangular prism 5 6 9
cuboid 6 8 12
Square pyramid 5 5 8


If appropriate, look carefully at the results above and look for a pattern as there is a relationship between the number of faces, edges ad vertices.

The edges are faces plus vertices minus 2.  (F+V)-2= E.  This is Euler’s formula which is named after Leonhard Euler  who first proved this formula in 1735.


Triangular numbers 

This is the Triangular Number Sequence: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36 … This sequence is made from a pattern of dots which form a triangle. By adding another row of dots and counting all the dots  the sequence is developed.

                                     triangular numbers

Build a large triangle with four small Toblerones.

Find out about Pascal’s triangle



Find out about Sierpinski’s triangle. This can be built up with coloured paper cut into identical equilateral triangles.