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A Social Studies lesson plan on using the compass


Social Studies  



Aimee Wolf

Title: How to use the compass

Grade Levels: Third

Length: 30 minutes

Performance Expectation: The student will use the compass rose as a tool to help tell if the location is north, east, south, or west from Missouri on the U.S map.


1. Markers/Crayons

2. U.S. maps for each student (or map for every 2 people)

3. A big map of the U.S. for the whole class to see



I. Introduction:

1. Have the students find the compass rose on their maps.

2. Discuss the history of the compass rose, like how it got its name.

II. Development:

1. Pull down the map in front of the room, and point to the compass rose for the class.

2. Explain what the cardinal points, N, E, S, and W stand for on the compass rose, and how you can use it as a tool for locating the direction of a place.

3. Ask the students if they can think of any strategies that will help them remember the N, E, S, and W. For example, Never Eat Soggy Wheaties, etc.

4. Have the students make their own compass roses.

5. Have the students check with their neighbors to see if they put the N, E, S, and W in the correct places.

III. Closure:

1. Play the game, What direction are you going?

2. Have students volunteer to come up in front of the class, and point to a place they want to go to on the map.

3. The other students have to tell the volunteer what direction that place is from Missouri.

(The students still may need more practice with this. You may need to play this the next day for them to become more familiar with directions.)

Assessment: The students submit their compasses. They are checked to be sure each student knows how to complete a compass( the N,E,S,W are in the correct places). A blank compass is given to the students for them to fill in the N,E,S,W.

Adaptations/Extensions: The students continue to learn about directions. Next they learn the intercardinal points on the compass, and how to use them to locate places. The students can play the game, What direction are you going? again.


Wolf, Kathi, October 4, 1997.

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