Captain James Cook was a famous explorer of Australia and traveled all over the world. This week get students to practice their knowledge of compass directions using places in your community and on maps and then crate a treasure hunt for each other using the following lesson plan.
Which Direction Should I Go?
This lesson has students review and practice their knowledge of compass directions. They will do several brief exercises to practice using directions in their community and on maps, and conclude by creating a treasure hunt for other students to take.
- Computer with Internet access
- Wall map of the Australia or the world
- review compass directions in the classroom and on a map;
- complete sentences describing compass directions towards locations in their community;
- complete sentences to describe compass directions from one point to another as seen on a map;
- make online maps of their town and its vicinity, and write sentences describing the town’s direction from other towns or landmarks;
- discuss why it is important to understand directions; and
- create treasure hunts for other students to take.
Review the compass directions—north (N), south (S), east (E), west (W), northeast (NE), northwest (NW), southeast (SE), southwest (SW)—in the classroom by asking students to point in the appropriate directions as you call them out. Then review the directions as they are seen on a map by having students call out the directions as you point to them on a large map hanging in the front of the room.
To review and practice the directions within their community, have students complete the following sentences:
- My school is _____ of my home.
- My favorite park is called _____, and it is _____ of school.
- My best friend lives _____ of me.
- The closest swimming pool (or baseball field) is _____ of where I’m sitting right now.
- The closest hamburger joint is called _____ and is _____ of school.
To practice the directions on a map, have students refer to an atlas or wall map, to complete the following sentences:
- New York City is ____ of Chicago.
- Miami is _____ of Denver.
- London, England, is _____ of Paris, France.
- Brazil is _____ of Peru and _____ of Venezuela.
- Australia is _____ of New Zealand.
- India is _____ of China.
Have students create maps of their town and its vicinity on Google Maps. Ask them to look at the map that comes up and to write four sentences describing the relationship between their town and other towns or landmarks on the map, using directions in their sentences.
Ask students to explain why it is important to understand compass directions like north, south, east, and west. Have they ever needed to know these directions? When is it important to know the directions in their own community? When is it important to know the directions on a map of the world?
Suggested Student Assessment:
Have students, either individually or in pairs, make a treasure hunt to help classmates practice using their knowledge of directions. They should follow these steps:
- Print out a map of the City of Melbourne.
- Label Eureka Skydeck.
- Label other prominent landmarks in the city.
- On a separate piece of paper, list six sets of directions for people to follow, beginning at Eureka Skydeck. For example: “Go five blocks south and three blocks west.” Each set of directions should lead to one of the landmarks or to an intersection. Be sure to number the steps.
- On a separate piece of paper, write the destinations for each of the six sets of directions.
- Trade your directions with a partner, and see if you can follow your partner’s directions on the map. Write your destination after each step, and figure out where you end up after the last set of directions. Compare your results with your partner.
Extending the Lesson:
Teach students how to use a compass. Ask students to create treasure hunts around the school or field that require their classmates to go a certain number of feet in very specific directions, using a compass as a guide. The treasure hunt should lead people to an actual prize (such as a certificate of completion or a candy bar) or an object (such as a tree or a piece of playground equipment).