With all the messages bombarding us each day it’s a good idea to take a step back often to evaluate the direction you are headed. Are the steps you’re taking leading you to where you want to be? Are you focused on where you really want to be? Because…

“Where you look is where you’ll go.”
-Noelle Pikus Pace (Olympic Silver Medalist)

Have fun with any of these compass activities, then use that activity as an analogy in a family/class discussion about self-evaluation, making personal adjustments and goal setting.

Using a compass is all about picking your course, checking where you are and knowing where to go next. We can take time and develop habits to follow that process in our life too.

Compass Activity Ideas

  • Go geocaching (following a GPS to find hidden “treasure”). Talk about how a GPS works.
  • Practice using a compass in the Compass Circle, a compass course that is fairly easy to set up and navigate. You’ll need to find a park or a field because you do need a big, fairly open area for this…about 100 feet across.

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  • Practice using a compass right in your living room or front yard. Use a compass to figure out which direction it is to different cities in the state or world.
    • Spread out a state or world map.
    • Find out where you are on the map.
    • Draw a line or hold a string (to make a line) from that point to any other city.
    • Place a compass with it’s travel arrow along that line.
    • Turn the adjustable ring so that North on the compass matches up with North on the map (usually the top of the map).
    • Lift the compass off the map. By turning the whole compass (do not twist the ring) match the magnetic arrow with North on the compass. (A Trick: “Put Red Fred in the Shed.” Some compasses have a little arrow shape that looks like a house. So this process of moving the compass so the magnetic arrow, which is often red, can be referred to as, “Put Red Fred in the Shed.” Red Fred is the movable magnetic arrow and the Shed is the house shaped mark representing North on the adjustable ring.)
    • The Journey Arrow is now pointing the actual direction to the city selected on the map.
    • It might be fun to twist the map around and try it again (to the same city) to demonstrate that the map gives a picture of where things are, but the compass tells you the actual direction.

Compass Tips

  • Remember when using a compass to hold it flat or it won’t work correctly. Also, magnets and materials attracted by magnets can affect it too.
  • How to use a compass with a map.
  • Printable Handout (includes compass instructions and the quote from Noelle Pikus Pace)

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