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Orienteering is an excellent lifetime sport/activity that all students should have the opportunity to try. Competitive orienteering is all individual, but when starting with young children it is a good idea to use partners.

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school applications
Orienteering is an excellent lifetime sport/activity that all students should have the opportunity to try.

Competitive orienteering is all individual, but when starting with young children it is a good idea to use partners.

Grades 4-8: great age to begin to introduce the sport/activity. Students at this age learn the concepts very quickly and are able to read the map.

Senior: at this age the students are quite capable of finishing lengthy courses (5-10KM.) in forest terrain. They can also organize their own courses.

Orienteering allows the students to apply their learning/abilities in a real-life situation.

Orienteering allows our students to develop their self-confidence, problem-solving and decision-making skills, spatial awareness, an appreciation of the natural environment, and overall persistence and ability to focus.

I have taught orienteering in my current school to my 5-S4 students with many positive results. An excellent year starter/ender activity as well.

School Applications
curricular outcomes
Direct Outcomes

S.1.7(8).C.1Apply functional use of selected activity-specific skills (e.g., care and carrying of equipment, compass and map reading, star turn, snowplough...) in alternative pursuits(e.g., orienteering, hiking, skiing...).

S.1.S2.B.1 Apply and refine selected activity-specific movement skills and variations(e.g., running for long distance, dynamic balancing, double-poling, lunging, chipping, putting...) in physical activities, including individual/dual type activities(e.g., cross-country skiing, golf, cycling...).

Indirect Outcomes

K.3.8.A.5aInvestigate potential safety risks inherent in selected alternative pursuits (e.g., climbing walls, in-line skating, downhill skiing, activities on ice...).

K.3.S2.A.5aDetermine the safety considerations in selected alternative pursuits (e.g., wear protective equipment, use reflective tape for nighttime visibility, have first-aid kit available, watch for extreme weather conditions...).

Orienteering has obvious close connections to math, geography, and science.

Depending on how you design your units/plans you can reach many (10+) outcomes by teaching orienteering.

Curricular Outcomes
equipment what is needed
Clothing: you need to wear something that will keep you feeling comfortable throughout the activity. A lightweight, stretchy suit that allows for maximum movement even when wet is ideal.

Shoes: light strong shoes with a non-slip gripping are ideal. Cross-training type.

Map: a detailed topographical map is ideal, but for school use a basic black and white map can be used and will work quite well.

Compasses: there is a wide variety to choose from. Orienteers use either a thumb, or base-plate compass. For school programs, compasses are not needed all the time.

Controlcard: to prove you have been to each point, you will use the punch on the flag

to leave an


Equipment: What is needed…
orienteering controls flags
The orange/white controls are located in the middle of the circles on your map.

Each control has a number or letter code that distinguishes them from one another. This will tell you whether or not you have found the right one!!

They are usually hanging between 2-5 feet off the ground from a tree or on a pole.

On the

flag you will

notice a punch

that you will

use to show

you have

been to the correct location.

Smaller versions for school events can be made very easily using construction paper.

Orienteering Controls/Flags
how does this all work
One of the challenges of organizing an orienteering activity in your schools is the time/leg-work the teacher needs to put in.

Before you start an introductory course you need to do the following:

Find a suitable area to Orienteer (inside of school, school grounds, local park, wilderness area, W.M.A.’s)

Find/Make an accurate map of the area you would like to use.

Do some field work to ensure the map is to scale, and is accurate.

Set out the controls/markers in the area, and mark them on your master map.

Draw/Copy the appropriate number of maps for your students.

How does this all work?
Once you have everything in place you need to make sure that all of the controls are still in the correct places.

Start!!! The student should go in partners the first time, and should be staggered about 1-3 min. between each group.

Make sure you time your students so they can compare results with each other.

At the end of the event you need to retrieve all the controls, and ensure that the area you are using is looking the same as when you got there.

strategy technique
The object of the orienteering is to find each control in the correct order in the shortest possible time.

To do this you need to make smart route choices.

The path you should take is not marked on your map. You need to decide where to go!!

Remember “the shortest route is not always the fastest.”

Map contact is key. You should always have a rough idea of where you are on the map.

Look out for key features. Keep your eye out for certain landmarks such as fences, trails, large hills, boulders that will assist you in finding the control.

Don’t give up….frustration is inevitable!!