On November 27th, 2018, 18 students from Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy had an introduction to map and compass navigation. In a world of cell phones and GPS devices, it can be easy to dismiss maps and compasses as irrelevant, but without this foundational knowledge it is difficult to impossible to know what one is looking at on a GPS and leaves the adventurer vulnerable if the batteries die or the satellites send the wrong signal.
To introduce topo maps we play a game of TOPO! It is much like bingo but students look for different topo map symbols on the grid of their maps. When you find 5 symbols you shout TOPO!
After an intro to maps, we learned to use a basic compass. Students studied the parts of the compass and learned to orient themselves my putting “Red Fred in the shed”. Once they had the basic grasp, they played a round of “Compass Madness” following directions when, if done correctly would take them on a walking adventure that will lead them back to their original starting place.
It was a fun introduction to how to adjust our eyes to maps and compasses and how they function. Next time we will but the two together to see where our navigation takes us!