Cardinal Directions Teacher Resources
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First graders study cardinal directions on maps. In this geography lesson, 1st graders determine and show where North, South, East, and West are on various maps.
New! Which Way is North?
Who needs a compass to find cardinal directions? Just place a stick in the ground and record the movement of its shadow over the course of a day. Then, measure the shadow lengths in order to determine a north-south line. A simple activity that deepens students' understanding of the earth's motion and position in the solar system. As an extension, consider creating sundials to demonstrate how shadows can also be used to tell time.
Fairy Tale Maps
Students study direction as they listen to the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and The Jolly Postman. In this cardinal direction lesson, learners create a map to show the path Little Red Riding Hood took in the story and label the path that the Jolly Postman took. The class practices the cardinal directions while singing "Oh Where Oh Where is the Postman" song.
Introduction to the Yukon Territory
Students research the Canadian Yukon Territory. They access the Atlas of Canada website and use the information to describe the relative location of the Yukon Territory using cardinal directions, symbols and the Atlas legend.
Students draw items on a map in specific places to show their knowledge of cardinal directions. In this simple map skills lesson plan, students draw a cloud, a tree, a house, and a lake to show North, South, East, and West.
Mapmaker, Make Me a Map
Students create maps of their classroom including landmarks and cardinal directions. they examine a satellite photo of the school community and note the four directions on it by using compasses.
Third graders use cardinal directions to practice writing concise directions. In this direction writing lesson, 3rd graders write directions for a classmate using cardinal directions. They use the school and its environs as they write and edit the directions. They complete both a pre and post-assessment.
Third graders review cardinal directions, moving around the room so that they are standing in the part of the room that is nearest the north, south, east and west. They are asked what would you do if they are lost? Pupils work as a whole group to create a map of the school and the playground.
Down at the Orchard
First graders examine what an apple orchard looks like and work with cardinal directions. In this apple orchard and direction lesson plan, 1st graders listen to Anne Rockwell's, Apples and Pumpkins, and Amy and Richard Hutchings', Picking Apples and Pumpkins. They learn cardinal directions, take virtual tour of the apple orchard, and use software to draw a map of an orchard.
Compass Rose Tossing
Students use different pieces of equipment to practice throwing and catching. They use the cardinal directions of North, South, East and West in making a compass rose with the equipment. They must use higher order and decision making skills.
TE Activity: Northward Ho!
Students design a simple compass. They examine how the Earth's magnetic field has both horizontal and vertical components. They determine how a compass works and work with cardinal directions.
Follow the Light
Here is another in the interesting series of lessons that use the special State Quarters as a learning tool. During this lesson, pupils learn about lighthouses, maps, the cardinal directions on a compass, and U.S. geography. There are many excellent worksheets embedded in the plan. A fine lesson!
Where is Here?
Students are shown the very basics of navigation. The concepts of relative and absolute location, latitude, longitude and cardinal directions are discussed, as well as the use and principles of a map and compass.
Exploring the Distance Formula with the TI- Navigator
Students explore the distance formula. In this geometry instructional activity, students investigate the relationship between movement on the coordinate lane and cardinal directions. Students explore the distance formula in terms of the Pythagorean Theorem and rise and run.
Globe Lesson 3 - Cardinal Directions - Grade 6+
In this cardinal directions worksheet, middle schoolers read a 2-page review of cardinal directions and use a globe to respond to 5 questions.
Expanding Map Vocabulary
First graders name the vocabulary words in Navajo, Ute and Spanish for the cardinal directions.
Johnny Appleseed's Westward Journey
Students listen to the book, JOHNNY APPLESEED focusing on the directions that he traveled within the United States. They discuss Johnny Appleseed's westward travels locating the westward direction on the map and also answer questions using hand signals for the four cardinal directions.
Learning to Read a Map
First graders identify the map and globe symbols: Cardinal Directions; Compass Rose; Mountains; Rivers; Lakes; Towns; Roads.
Location, Location, Location!
Twelfth graders locate cities, states and countries on maps. They use the cardinal directions to locate places on maps. They describe where they were born by giving clues without naming the exact state. They trade papers and try to guess the birth locations.
Compass Rose: Dance and Quilt
Fourth graders identify the cardinal directions by listening to a song entitled, "Stand," and by reviewing the lyrics to that song. They notice the cardinal directions that are posted around the classroom. They perform the motions as they listen to the song a final time. Finally, they design a construction paper quilt using that shows the cardinal and intermediate directions.