ALEX Lesson Plan


Compass Skills Scavenger Hunt

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sherry Motes
System: Cullman County
School: Cullman County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 16497


Compass Skills Scavenger Hunt


During this lesson students take a reading with a compass and use the compass to reach multiple checkpoints. Students also demonstrate their knowledge by locating specific coordinates that spell out a phrase.
 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will identify parts of a compass and locate specific coordinates of different courses.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will use a compass and create a problem situation to find locations.
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Compasses (one for each student), one demonstration compass (either large or overhead), balloons, direction cards, overhead projector

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access, LCD projector


Students should be able to identify directions such as north, east, south, and west. The teacher will need to devise the phrases for the scavenger hunt and the coordinates.
1.)Inform students they are going to learn to use a compass. Ask students to share what they know about compasses. Then teach students how to use a compass.
First, hold the compass so the magnetic needle turns freely.
Rotate the compass dial to a desired bearing (so the sighting line falls directly on a bearing such as 90 degrees which is east).
Hold the compass so that the back of the compass (part of the compass base opposite the direction of travel arrow) is at the belly button.
Keeping the back of the compass at the belly button, turn in a circle until the red end of the magnetic needle lines up with zero degrees (north) on the compass dial.
The direction of travel arrow now points to the bearing set on the compass.

2.)Review the following sites with students to help them develop a better understanding of a compass.
(How to use a compass)
This site teaches specific information for using a compass.

(Learning the Compass)
This site teaches basic information about a compass.

4.)Walk students through cues and repeat the steps to face different directions and bearings.
Practice travelling at specific bearings by setting the compass to a bearing, picking a spot on the gym wall that the directional arrow points to, and walking toward that spot.

5.)Practice Activity:
Write the following directions on different papers so that each course is on a different piece of paper:
Course 1
120 degrees - 10 steps
240 degrees - 10 steps
0 degrees - 10 steps
Course 2
300 degrees - 8 steps
60 degrees - 8 steps
180 degrees - 8 steps
Course 3
90 degrees - 12 steps
180 degrees - 12 steps
270 degrees - 12 steps
0 degrees - 12 steps
Course 4
90 degrees - 6 steps
180 degrees - 8 steps
330 degrees - 10 steps
Course 5
130 degrees - 3 steps
220 degrees - 4 steps
310 degrees - 6 steps
100 degrees - 5 steps
Course 6
110 degrees - 6 steps
200 degrees - 8 steps
290 degrees - 12 steps
80 degrees - 10 steps
Partner students and have them read their compass to follow the different courses.

6.)Set up the scavenger hunt by spreading a marker on the floor of the beginning area.
Fold the coordinate papers and parts of the phrase and insert these in each balloon.
Blow up the balloons and place them at the different coordinates.
Have students travel around the school using a compass to find the phrases in the balloons.

7.)When groups have their complete phrase have them bring it to the teacher. Ask each member to identify the parts of the compass as they turn in their phrases.


Assessment Strategies

Teacher observation will be used to check for completion of phrases. The teacher will evaluate each student's ability to identify the parts of the compass correctly.


Students may learn more about the Origins of the Compass Rose or
use this site from National Geographic to make a compass.



View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.