A7: Map Navigation: Teaching Orienteering Barbara Bryant New England Orienteering Club

An orienteering curriculum

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Presentation at the 2011 Massachusetts Environmental Education Workshop

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Page 1: An orienteering curriculum

A7: Map Navigation: Teaching Orienteering

Barbara BryantNew England Orienteering Club

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Today’s workshop

• What is orienteering?• Sample curriculum: team navigation• Variations on the theme• Orienteering exercise• Resources for educators

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What is orienteering?

• A navigation sport• A treasure hunt with a map

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Orienteering is a

competitive sport

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Orienteering helps kids learn

things they need to know

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Orienteering AdventureSeptember, 2010

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Components of Orienteering Activities

Map Navigation Teamwork





Developed over several years in collaboration with teachers

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Junior High Orienteering

Map Navigation Teamwork

Learn(1) Classroom lecture.

(2) Homework.(3) Test.

(1) Make team ground rules(2) Role-play potentially difficult


Plan Teams plan routes. Distribute tasks.

Execute(1) Slow map walk to relate map to woods.

(2) Teams collect tickets at controls.(3) Tickets can be spent on prizes.

Reflect How did we do? What did we learn?

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Mon 9/13 Tue 9/14

Lecture.Start homework in


Wed 9/15 Thu 9/16

Homework due

Fri 9/18

Teams plan routes

Mon 9/20

Licensing Exam

Tue 9/21 Wed 9/22

Team dynamics

Thu 9/23

Last minute questions in Home Room

Fri 9/24

Field trip

Fri 10/1

Rain date for field trip



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Classroom Lecture• Team challenge goal• Reading a map• Navigating with a map• Field trip information

– Schedule– Team mission rules– What to bring– Safety

• Homework: Planning a route

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Team Challenge Goal

• Using a map and compass, and working as a team, find controls in the woods.– Each team will get tickets for finding controls.– The tickets can be exchanged for prizes.

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Reading the Map

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Sea level


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10 feet

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20 feet

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20 feet

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Find some hilltops

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Find saddles

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Man-made Symbols

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(White) Forest

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Estimating distance

• 1:10,000 scale: One centimeter on the map is 10,000 centimeters (___ meters) on the ground. – Hint: 100 centimeters = 1 meter

• A pace is two steps. Roughly how many of your paces make 100 meters?

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WEST EASTDirections of the compass

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Telling someone where you are on the map





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Navigating with the map


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Orienting the map

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Orienting the map

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Orienting the map

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Orienting the map

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Ways of orienting the map

• Match features around you• Use your compass• Use the sun (the sun is to the south of us in

the middle of the day, if we are in the northern hemisphere)


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When to orient the map

• Orient the map at every control to make sure you head in the right direction.

• Try to keep your map oriented at all times.

• “Thumb” the map as you walk: keep your thumb roughly pointing to where you are on the map.

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Field trip schedule

• 8:45 Take bus to Middlesex Fells• 9:30 Training map.• 10:30 TEAM CHALLENGE.• 12:30 Deadline to return to Finish• 12:45 Return to buses.• 1:00 Return to school

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Map Walk 1

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TEAM CHALLENGE: Landmark Controls

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(Envelopes are marked with

team letter and control number so we can clean

up any remaining

controls after the event.)

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Licensing• Teams may choose to become Licensed to Navigate• To become licensed, teams must demonstrate

– Knowledge of navigation (written test)– A good plan for tackling the Team Challenge (individual homework and

team work in class)– Trustworthiness and readiness (teacher assessment)

• Why be licensed?– The glory, the fame– Useful feedback on skills the team needs to work on.– Can choose to go without an adult chaperone– 1 bonus ticket/person for taking the test

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Licensing exam

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• Getting tickets – 4 tickets at each team control– 1 ticket for each landmark control– 1 ticket for each person taking the

Licensing exam– 2 tickets for picking up garbage in

the woods– 2 tickets for team prepared to get

on the bus– 1 ticket for each person completing

a course at a local NEOC orienteering meet

• Late penalty– Lose 1 ticket for each minute late

• Tickets can be exchanged for prizes and snacks at the Finish

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Bring to the woods:• Watch (at least 1 per team)• Cell phone (1 per team)• Team packet (folder with maps, plan)• Backpack

– Snack– Lunch– Water

• Suitable clothing– Long-sleeved shirt; long pants– Sweater, raincoat

• Insect repellant (optional)

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• Teams carry cell phones. Numbers distributed to all adults. Safety numbers (mine, 911, …)

• Safety bearing is west.• Teams must always stay together.• Return to the Finish location by 12:30 at the latest. • Watch where you step.• Practice communicating location• Preparation: route planning, team dynamics, …

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Safety Bearingis WEST to the road, then along the road to the parking lot.

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Roving Parents

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Poison Ivy

• 3 leaves


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Watch your step!


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Mon 9/13 Tue 9/14

Lecture.Start homework in


Wed 9/15 Thu 9/16

Homework due

Fri 9/18

Teams plan routes

Mon 9/20

Licensing Exam

Tue 9/21 Wed 9/22

Team dynamics

Thu 9/23

Last minute questions in Home Room

Fri 9/24

Field trip

Fri 10/1

Rain date for field trip



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Route planning advice

• Use trails as much as possible• Big trails are faster than little trails• Use landmark controls

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Plan route from 2 to 3


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Straight Line distance from 2 to 3


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Draw in a route from 2 to 3

54Pick up landmark controls along the way.

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Which landmark controls will you visit?

55Answer: 120, 118, 117, 106

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Which additional landmark controls can you get if you have extra time?

56What would be a good lunch spot? How much time will you need to get from there to the finish?

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Describe the route from 2 to 120


From To Description 2 120 Start by orienting the map and heading toward 120 (west).

Distance: 0.5 cm on the map = 50 m on the ground = 35 paces Come down off the knoll. Pass the cliff on the right. The control feature is a trail junction.

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Describe the route from 120 to 118


Distance = 2 cm = 200 m = 140 pacesOrient the map and head south toward 118 along the trail.Make sure to take the left trail, not the one on the right.Cross a trail at about 60 paces.Pass a cliff on the right as we go up-hill.The control feature is a trail junction

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Describe the route from 118 to 117


Distance = 2 cm = 200 m = 140 paces Orient the map and head west along the big trail.Fence will be on our left.Trail will bend to the right at about 70 paces.At about 100 paces, there will be a large trail going off to the right.At the next trail junction, go right and we should see the control.The control is at a trail junction.

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Mon 9/13 Tue 9/14

Lecture.Start homework in


Wed 9/15 Thu 9/16

Homework due

Fri 9/18

Teams plan routes

Mon 9/20

Licensing Exam

Tue 9/21 Wed 9/22

Team dynamics

Thu 9/23

Last minute questions in Home Room

Fri 9/24

Field trip

Fri 10/1

Rain date for field trip



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Working as a Team


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Working as a Team: Ground Rules

• Make your own• Examples

– One person speaks at a time, and the others listen– We make decisions by consensus (everyone has to agree

on the decision)– In discussions we do not have to agree - we want to hear

everyone's ideas– We use respectful language with each other– We value constructive feedback. We will avoid being

defensive and give feedback in a constructive manner.

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Working as a Team: Goals

• Make your own• Examples

– Everyone understands how to orient a map– We will get all the team controls and 5 landmark

controls– We will have fun– We will work well together as a team– Everyone gets a chance to navigate

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Working as a Team: Possible Roles

• Possible Roles– Navigation: reading contours, matching features

to the map, distance estimation, map orientation– Teamwork: facilitator, timekeeper, route selection– Garbage collector

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Working as a Team: Dealing with Problems

• What problems might come up?• Role playing exercise• Examples

– Disagreement about which way to go– A team member wants to go faster; others do not– A team member is disrespectful of another team


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Mon 9/13 Tue 9/14

Lecture.Start homework in


Wed 9/15 Thu 9/16

Homework due

Fri 9/18

Teams plan routes

Mon 9/20

Licensing Exam

Tue 9/21 Wed 9/22

Team dynamics

Thu 9/23

Last minute questions in Home Room

Fri 9/24

Field trip


Fri 10/1

Rain date for field trip



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What preparations did your team make that were really important to your success on this trip?

• Teamwork. • Listening.• Planning our route. (Prevented arguments.)• Marking the route on the map. Studying the map.• Ground rules.• Discussed what to do if one person got out of hand; if someone did not follow the rules.• Assigning roles. • Learning to orient the map. Practicing orienting the map.• Acting out possible situations. Someone getting hurt. Someone not following the

ground rules.• Having someone keep time.• Agreed on how fast we would go.• Planning what to wear. What to bring for food.• Getting licensed.• Orienteering homework packet was useful.

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Students’ Personal High Points• Finding team controls. Finding the first team

control.• Starting off. Rush of excitement.• Working hard.• Earning tickets. Getting prizes. Tickets

showed how hard we worked.• Sense of accomplishment. Pride.• The views. Seeing a snake. Just going into the

woods.• Recovering from being lost.• Gaining confidence from finding the first

control; over time.• Learning more and more how to read the map

over the course of the day.• Knowing where we were on the map and

where we were going. Not getting lost.• Being on a roll finding controls.• Cheering my teammates up.

• Knowing we were close to the finish.• Finishing. Finishing on time.• Socializing at the end. Socializing on the bus;

sharing stories of the day.• Working as a team. Coming together as a

team over the course of the day. • Getting a high score.• Bushwhacking.• Having a license.• Coming up with names for the team.• Realizing that the team controls were little

envelopes.• Seeing who could find the envelope first once

we were in the area.• Finding a control after looking for it for about

20 minutes.• Leading other groups to the finish; helping

other groups.

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Summary of Key Skills• Map reading

– Topography– Legend– Describing where you are– Planning a route

• Navigation– Orienting the map– Distance estimation– Matching map features to terrain– Recovering from errors

• Team work– Including everyone– Resolving disagreements– Having fun

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Working with Staff and Parents • Staff

– Three before-school meetings with staff

– Full partnership • Parent chaperones

– Coordinator– Recruitment, CORI forms,

communication– Pre-reading– Assigned roles– Invited to classroom sessions– Meeting at the woods before kids

arrive– Debriefing afterwards

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Variations on the theme

Map Navigation Teamwork





Developed over several years in collaboration with teachers

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Variation: 1st grade mix-in


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Variation: 1st grade mix-in

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Variation: 1st grade mix-in

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Practice map reading at

nearby parks

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5th Grade at Fresh Pond

Map Navigation Teamwork

LearnStudents specialize in distance

estimation, map features or compass.

A team leader learns facilitation and role plays situations.

Plan Teams plan routes. Achieve consensus.

Execute(1) Street orienteering to get to Fresh Pond.

(2) Execute plan to collect controls.(3) Put puzzle together to find the prize.

Reflect How did we do? What did we learn?

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Variation: 5th grade trip to Fresh


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Variation: 5th grade trip to Fresh Pond

• Single-session training: – (1) skills (2) team

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Variation: Harbor Island Orienteering and Citizen Science

Dr. Jessica Rykken

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We learned about invertebrate diversity at Harvard

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1st & 2nd graders

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We planned

our route from school

to the T station.

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We colored the land and navigation buoys in a harbor map.

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Field trip!

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On the boat

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Biodiversity survey

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Variation: 4th graders and science

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4th grade Fells Trip: Erosion

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What shaped these rocks?

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(But the living things were more interesting!)

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Variation: Scout-O

• See Dave’s writeup (handout)

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Variation: Orienteering Meet

• See NEOC.org for upcoming schedule!

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Resources for educators

• (SEE HANDOUT)• www.neoc.org• www.orienteeringusa.org

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Appendix: Learning Frameworks

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Frameworks: Science

• Earth and Space Science Standard for K-2– 1. Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on

the earth’s surface.

• Life Science Standards– PreK-2: Differentiate between living and nonliving things. Group both

living and nonliving things according to the characteristics that they share.

– 3-5: Classify plants and animals according to the physical characteristics that they share.

– 6-8: Classify organisms into the currently recognized kingdoms according to characteristics that they share. Be familiar with organisms from each kingdom.

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Frameworks: Math• Number sense standards from PreK-K

– K.M.2 Make and use estimates of measurements from everyday experiences. – K.M.3 Use nonstandard units to measure length, area, weight, and capacity.

• Exploratory concepts and skills for 1-2 Geometry– Create mental images of geometric shapes using spatial memory and spatial

visualization.– Recognize geometric shapes and structures in the environment and specify

their location.– Identify relative positions, e.g., closer, farther, higher, lower, etc.– Find and name locations on maps and express simple relationships, e.g., near

to, far away from.

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Frameworks for 3-5

• Earth and Space Science– 4. Explain and give examples of the ways in which

soil is formed (the weathering of rock by water and wind and from the decomposition of plant and animal remains).

– 12. Earth’s surface changes due to slow processes such as erosion and weathering, and rapid processes such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

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Frameworks for 6-8

• Learning Standard, Earth and Space Science – Recognize, interpret, and be able to create models of the

earth’s common physical features in various mapping representations, including contour maps.

• Learning Standards, Math– 6.G.9 Match three-dimensional objects and their two-

dimensional representations – 6.M.3 Solve problems involving proportional relationships

and units of measurement, e.g., same system unit conversions, scale models, maps, and speed.