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Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
TITLE: ORIENTEERING: MAP SKILLS
AUTHOR: Donna Johnson; Wallowa Elementary, OR
GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: K-4
OVERVIEW: Orienteering is a sport popular in Australia and Sweden
and is used as a training activity in the service. It teaches the
participants how to read and use a map. The activity can be
adjusted according to grade level by the difficulty of the course
and even the use of a compass. Excellent activity for field trips.
I used it as a culminating activity to an outdoor unit.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this activity is to involve students in map
skills in an every day situation, making the use of maps more real
OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:
1. Use a map to locate six specific landmarks in a given area.
2. Individually, and as a group, write a list of how maps and
landmarks can help us.
3. Write an explanation of how to get from point A to point B
to someone unfamiliar to the area.
RESOURCES/MATERIALS: A selected course that has been mapped and
specific landmarks color coded with crayons or small self-stick
circles. Courses may be either familiar or unfamiliar to students
depending on the level of difficulty needed to meet student needs.
A few possible suggestions may be: the playground, a city park, a
wooded area near the school, or a specific rural area the class
make take a bus to for a field trip.
ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
1. Maps are distributed in classroom and a discussion follows
concerning north, south, east, and west and pictures of landmarks.
If a compass is used, prior discussion of its use is needed.
2. Explain procedure for completing the orienteering activity.
Look for six small circles near specific landmarks on your map.
When you locate one of the indicated landmarks on the course, you
will find a crayon on a string at that spot. Without removing the
crayon from the string, fill in the appropriate circle on your map.
Complete all six circles in this manner. If you finish the map
correctly, each circle will be a different color that will
correspond to the map I have already completed.
3. You will work with a partner to discuss problems and the
completion of the course. You are responsible for your partners
safety and upon their return to the starting position.
4. If you hear three blows on the whistle, return to the starting
point. Students are reminded of safety precautions and to return
to the starting point when they have finished the course.
5. Pairs of students are sent out in different directions and at
different intervals so as not to follow one another or clump together.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
1. Check maps with key.
2. Brainstorm an individual list and then make a list on the board
of how maps and the use of landmarks can help us.
3. Write a paragraph describing how to get from the red circle to
the yellow circle assuming no one else is familiar to the area.