Orienteering is a great activity for the classroom. It teaches kids about map reading, topography, and use of the compass. There is an opportunity to do distance estimation and practice using arithmetic in a real-world application. But above all, it teaches critical thinking skills: Where am I? What is the evidence that I am where I think I am? Where do I want to go? What are my choices for how to get there, and which are the best, and why? What will I see along the way as evidence that I am going the right way?
Orienteering can also provide an opportunity to get outside of the classroom, experience nature, get some exercise, and build kids' ability to work successfully in teams.
NEOC member Barbara Bryant has worked with several schools in the Boston area over the past ten years. In that time she has developed a curriculum that she varies in age-appropriate ways for the students and teachers she works with. Here is a link to a slideshow that gives an introduction to the curriculum. Barb would be happy to speak with teachers who would like to include orienteering in their classroom.
This is the first year I was able to volunteer at the annual Fall Scout-O, and I had a very rewarding experience. I was assigned an 11:00 start time with a Boy Scout group.
My group was led by Lou, and the group had travelled a couple hours from New Hampshire to be there. There were 2 adults, Lou and Ron, and seven boys ranging in age from about 12 to 16. We were issued a packet with 10 maps, a bunch of boy scout badges, and a feedback form. Previously, Pete Beckwith had sent me some teaching guidelines.
Turns out the group had some orienteering experience – they had all been out on white and yellow courses before – and they were eager to learn more about the sport.
NEOC often gets requests from schools, scouts and other youth groups to give presentations on orienteering. If you are interested in being listed on this page as a teacher or just wish to be notified of teaching opportunites, please contact Jason Tong.