Can your students use a map?  Can they use ANY map and not just topography maps?  There are mall maps, road maps, building maps, life maps and an infinite number of ways to display relationships of objects to other objects that can be deciphered by the user.  Those are all maps. Games and activities that make maps fun are the best way to introduce navigation.

Orienteering, the use of a map to find flags in the landscape,  enhances decision making, problem solving, spatial awareness, communication, memory, self confidence, love of fitness and a list of other applicable life skills.  And it is not about the compass though many teachers approach me with their case of compasses and ask for lessons in orienteering.

If every school had a map based program that expanded from Kindergarten through graduation and beyond, they would find opportunities to build in any subject material, health, and community.  Sweden, where orienteering has mandatory curriculum lesson plans, knows all about the full integration of Orienteering.  Kindergarten students can make a landscape in their sandbox and draw their interpretation of that on paper. High school students download GIS data to field check the campus and render a computer draft of a map to set up public events on.  And there is everything in between.

Orienteering team building grows relationships and acceptance as the cooperative groups move through activities towards success.  New students learn about campuses while having fun and getting to know each other.  Exams can be studied for as correct choices on a map will get you to the finish.  Kinesiology and body memory enhance the lesson.  Students with unique learning styles and lesser mobility are included.

Why wouldn’t you want Orienteering in your school?

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