Overall Goal 

Students will become practiced at using a map and/or compass in order to find their way from one point to another and be able to take this skill away with them for future use.

Grade 6 Curriculum Connections

Social Studies

  • spatial skills
  • map reading skills
Physical and Health Education
  • active participation

Program Description

Map Orienteering
An essential lifelong skill, maps are everywhere. The majority of students are familiar with Google maps, mall or subway maps, however, they might not be familiar with the features of a map or how to use them. Students may use GPS on their cell phone, in their parent's car or on their computer and yet GPS is not perfect and can lead one astray. Good map reading skills may be much more useful. Orienteering is a small group activity that offers students the opportunity to be responsible as part of a team working independent of adult direction.

Students learn to read and orient a contour map of the SOES site by setting out to search for various control markers. A number of courses are available varying in their level of difficulty and challenge.

Compass Orienteering
We recommend this program if you want to stretch and challenge your students. This activity requires a greater focus and asks students to follow a more exact process than map orienteering. Team work is essential to this program.

In small groups, students will learn to set and follow compass bearings to arrive at specific destinations. Students are asked to find their way from point to point through the bush traversing many natural obstacles. Again courses range in difficulty and challenge.


Success Criteria/Learning Goals

Map Orienteering
1. Students will explain the features of a map (Legend, Title, Scale, Contours, directional arrow) and why they are important.
2. Students will demonstrate how to use landmarks to orient their map and accurately pinpoint their location. .
3.Students will find 5 different orienteering markers using their mapping skills.

Compass Orienteering
1. Students will explain the parts of the compass and their functions
2. Students will demonstrate how to read and follow a bearing
3. Students will show techniques and strategies they used to overcome obstacles while following a bearing


Pre-Trip Activity
A Schoolyard Compass Activity can be set up easily outside to give students a sense of place in space. The activity can take up to an hour although a little prep is required. Compasses can be borrowed from your local TDSB outdoor education school if you don't have your own.

Next Step Environmental Action
Research shows that time spent in nature is beneficial to one's health and better connects one to the natural world. In this activity students create their own maps for their peers that will take them on a Treasure Hunt to find natural points of interest within the schoolyard.

Geocaching is an anytime adventure. There are many caches hidden throughout Toronto and with a free app on a cell phone or by using a GPS you could be off on an adventure.
The Toronto Orienteering Club offers beginner clinics on many of their Wednesday Evening Park Series events which use the many beautiful parks in Toronto to run orienteering meets. For anyone interested in developing their skills, this is great family friendly fun!



This activity can be done in any season and almost any weather