Wolf Ridge

Beginning Orienteering

Outdoor Recreation Skills
| 4th Grade - Adult
| Half Day 3 hrs
| Moderate


 Orienteering is the challenging sport of using a compass to find assigned markers in natural terrain.  After learning the history of the compass and how it works, students will be taught how to take a bearing and to pace out distances through the woods.  Taking these skills students will demonstrate their proficiency on one of two different outdoor orienteering courses.

Each course takes about an hour to complete.  The Ridgetop Course is near the campus, easy, flat and accessible.  The Valley Course is a half mile away, hilly and moderately difficult.

Class Outline

I. Introduction

A. Greeting/Grabber

B. Learn Names

C. Behavior Guidelines

D. Class Overview

E. Assess Learner Level

II. What is Orienteering

A. Definition and Importance

B. Walking a Straight Line

C. Value of Landmarks

D. History of the Compass

E. How a Compass Works

III. Using a Compass

IV. Pacing

A. Equipment and Site Arrangement

B. Small Group Research

V. The Course

A. Review

B. Stewardship Actions

VI. Combining Map & Compass (optional)

Concepts and Outcomes


  • Problem solving, decision-making and risk assessment are skills which empower us to reach goals.
  • Challenges provide opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Human powered sports promote healthy people and environment.
  • Using physical skills allows us to reach remote natural areas and gain a sense of place.
  • We all have the potential for physical activity and can improve our skills with patience and practice.


Upon completion of the Adventure Ropes class students will be able to:

  1. Explain the use of landmarks in navigation.
  2. Describe how a compass works.
  3. Take a compass bearing.
  4. Measure distances by pacing.
  5. Walk a straight line to a distance using a compass.


Extension Activities

Writing Prompts

Describe the role of the compass throughout history.

Write a story about the journey a compass could take through the Boundary Waters.


Additional Activities

Build Your Own Compass

A comprehensive unit of orienteering lesson plans geared toward advanced students and high schoolers.