Friday, May 17, 2013

Compass 101

Mr. Jack introduced compasses to the children at library class.  He began the class with how to read the compass and why it was important.   He asked the children about directions of North, South, East and West.  He had them point to southwest, northeast, due west, etc.

He then had the children estimate the distance between two lines on the floor.  They looked at him puzzled.  What did this have to do with a compass?

Mr. Jack told them that it was important to be able to measure distance without a tape measure.  They should know roughly how many steps it takes to walk a certain distance.  He had each child walk the distance counting their footsteps.  Most of the children had to take 11 to 12 steps (heal to toe) to walk ten feet.

Next, Mr. Jack explained how walking in the woods even with a compass can get confusing.  Trees, bushes, ect. may be in their path and they have to veer off course.  He explained how to use a fixed point to help with direction.  When you have a partner, send the partner so far ahead and adjust his position to the that on the compass.  The partner is not to move.  Now walk to your partner and repeat.  This should keep you on track.

Now that the children had the basics, Mr. Jack took them outside.  They were about to put their newly learned skills into action.

Outside the children were given instructions.  Using the start point, they were to follow the directions on their papers.

The paper told them which way to head (N, S, W, E) and how many feet to walk.  They used the partner method and found the correct destination.  Some paths were more challenging than others.  Each group had to work together.  

The children had a wonderful time.  They have learned a vital skill that we will have to expand upon.  I believe Mr. Jack has plans to use the compasses again in the fall.  We can't wait!