/ Teaching Map Skills

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Jamie Abbott - on 29 Jan 2013
Has anyone got any novel ideas about teaching / brushing up on navigation with Explorer Scouts (14-18 year olds)? When ever we do it it's quite dry and boring and understandably the Explorers don't engage much! The OS site has some good basic stuff for younger kids but nothing for older ones, although a game of Map Symbol Bingo is always good!

Cheers,
Jamie
ebygomm - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

Our geography teacher always used to tell us to find coordinates for things like 'Shag Rock'

nickcj - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

Get them to draw out their own maps and then set courses for each other to follow.

There might be some stuff on the bof site - British orienteering federation.

Paul at work - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to nickcj:

http://www.harveymaps.co.uk/acatalog/Books_on_navigation.html

The top one - Outdoor Navigation for Tutors, may help.
Orgsm on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

Can you take them out on nighttime navigation? Have leaders hiding at locations they need to get to. When they get there give them the next part of puzzle to solve. Make it a competition to get to the finish point first.

They have to choose the route they take, a supervisor goes with them, at each navigation point they get the next clue etc.
AlH - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott: Second vote for Books on Teaching nav from an Orienteering standpoint or the NNAS Book. Also http://www.mountain-training.org/books/navigation .
This may give an idea: http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/lead/orienteering/modules/mod2.swf
and Nigel's article gives some good pointers on making nav approachable: http://www.mcofs.org.uk/mag_sm33_page8.asp
Jamie Abbott - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to All: Many thanks guys, some great stuff there. I see a couple of books being added to be bookcase!

Cheers,
Jamie
marsbar - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to A Game of Chance:
> (In reply to Jamie Abbott)
>
> Can you take them out on nighttime navigation? Have leaders hiding at locations they need to get to. When they get there give them the next part of puzzle to solve. Make it a competition to get to the finish point first.
>
> They have to choose the route they take, a supervisor goes with them, at each navigation point they get the next clue etc.

I agree, the best way is to actually get out there and get on with it.

An alternative is phone box navigation, it takes a bit of preparation, and if possible a few leaders, but its a good one for a town centre. Directions could be a mix of grid ref and bearings. Leaders shadow or wait out of sight, and phone the phone boxes as the Explorers arrive to give the next clue. If there are a lot of them it can be done as a circular route, starting different groups in different places. The last point can be a chippy if you want.
Jamie Abbott - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to marsbar: I like the phone box idea! We actually navigated to the chippy last week- we gave them a map and a GPS receiver and met them at various checkpoints where we gave them the next GR, the last GR being the chippy! Food is always a good Scout motivational tool!

Cheers,
Jamie
RockAngel on 29 Jan 2013
Mattyk - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott: i once did Fire hydrant orienteering. you need to walk the streets and find them all in advance.. but then they have to go get the codes written on... same as phonebox but a bit more subtle.
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott: Where are you? Theres some great semi orienteering courses set up at the black rocks cromford, you just buy a map and set them off. There also used to some at Lyme Park near Disley on the A6.
I'm sure there are other places around the country you could find out about or people on here could suggest.
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Al Evans: I've just remembered there is even the 'post box' one on Lundy.
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2013
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Al Evans: Obviously some of these are more adventurous than others, but the advantage is you can do them as weekday training in summer nights. Probably some as night training if you get the rangers permission.
wilkie14c - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Jamie Abbott) Where are you? Theres some great semi orienteering courses set up at the black rocks cromford

Stanton Moor is popular for scouts/guides nav days too, it is a 'trainee wilderness' being proper moorland but in a safe and not too exposed location with some interesting features - nine ladies stone circle, the folly tower, standing stone etc. Drum hill nearer to Derby off the A38 is a scouting and guiding camp site <well used to be> with woodland and I remember camps were we did night nav there, great fun.

Out of everything I ever learned the most useful abd valuble skill is one I still do today - 'handrailing' a stream, a wall or whatever.

Carolyn - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

Have you done the "building a mountain" thing? ie enlarge a piece of map with a good hill on it, cut out around each contour line, stick on corrugated card, and build it up into a 3-D model? Cover in papier mache and paint the next week if you're feeling keen.... I've seen it done with younger kids, with Explorers, maybe there's the possibility to do it on a fairly massive scale if you can find enough cardboard?

I find it really helps get people to understand what contour lines mean in real life, and once you can quickly interpret contours in your head, navigation is so much easier.

I suspect turning a navigation exercise into some kind of treasure hunt still appeals even at that age, too. Or a mock "mountain" rescue incident, search for a casualty at a grid reference, combined with some first aid treatment?
Carolyn - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> Where are you?

His profile suggests Cambridgeshire..... maybe my suggestions about contours are not too useful!
Dan_S - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

The Carlo Forte book others have mentioned has games and things throughout to help with the teaching of navigation skills, and is definitely worth picking up.


If you've got any friends who help out with DofE, or if you can contact your local school and see if you can get any help from their DofE coordinator, you might get some more ideas that way?
d508934 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Carolyn:

whenever I've done this with DofE kids they always make their own mountains, that perfectly resemble a spectacular pair of breasts. Kids eh!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Frank4short - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott: Surely just throw em in at the deep end. That's what was done to us when I was in scouts.

E.g. you're here, point at point on the map, go there. We'll see you when we arrive. Proceed to drive off to rendez vouz.

Possibly tell them you'll do it in advance so they might pay attention for a change when trying to teach them how to take a bearing, etc as they might possibly pay more attention then.
Jamie Abbott - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Carolyn: In reply to Carolyn: Yep, tried that in the past and worked quite well. Having a mate who runs a packaging company helps ;-)

The problem with being in the fens is that any real map work needs to be done on a weekend away; with the amount of exams and coursework deadlines the kids have nowadays it's difficult to programme in training weekends as well as up to 5 weekends for Bronze and Silver DofE / Chief Scout award practice & qualifying expeditions, on top of other Scout camps.

Cheers,
Jamie
Carolyn - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to d508934:

> whenever I've done this with DofE kids they always make their own mountains, that perfectly resemble a spectacular pair of breasts. Kids eh!

Erm, effective learning is all about finding something that captures their imagination, right?

As I said, I've only done it with slightly younger kids. Maybe there's a good reason!
Carolyn - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:
> The problem with being in the fens is that any real map work needs to be done on a weekend away

Or locally after dark? I agree, the lack of contours is a distinct disadvantage, but I used to find it quite possible to challenge Scouts round Cambridgeshire in the dark....encourages the need to concentrate. Particularly if you drop them off somewhere, and the only way to get back is to navigate! Not sure of the current Scout Associaion rules, though, it was 20 years ago ;-)
jonnie3430 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

If you've taught them bearings and pacings, then a micro nav course is a great way to practise them. Start them at a point with a bearing and a distance (keep it short; 25, 33, 50, 66, 75, 100m, to make dividing their pacing for 100m easy,) which leads to a marker (nail or tent peg with paper, well hidden,) on the ground with the next bearing and distance, criss cross tracks to make it less easy for them to follow each other.
Jamie Abbott - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Carolyn: We did do a blind drop off a couple of weeks ago, and they all got back in one piece- which was reassuring!

Cheers,
Jamie
Jamie Abbott - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to jonnie3430: Yep, we're lucky that we meet at the District HQ / campsite and have setup such courses around the campsite, even placing ingredients for a campfire meal at each marker!

We'll probably do it again later in the year to cover compass usage, it's the 'preparatory map skills' as the DofE have it that we need more ideas for!

Cheers,
Jamie
JamButty - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott: Blind pacing is a good one. You need a bit of space, but two people, one as safety, one with a cardboard box on his head and a compass. Walk x paces north, new bearing east, walk x paces, repeat south and north and see how close to your starting point you are.
Winner is the closest!
tallsteve - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:
Hi Jamie,

I do Explorers too. They mostly want to chill with mates and mess about. Here's a few nav ideas I use;

- Get a big lampshade from a standard lamp, and stick over a scouts head. They can now see the map and the ground but nothing else. Its great training for bad weather nav. Best of all take them somewhere first blindfolded, only taking the blindfold off once they have the lampshade on. Groups of three work well. One to nav and two to act as safety and helpers and guffaw. Before hand a talk about "handrails", "aiming off" and using the angle and direction of slope for positioning is useful.
- Hunt the food. Pre lay a trail of items for a Tranjia meal. Pasta, cupa soup, cooked/cured sausage, hot chocolate, goodies. Give them grid refs for the grub, and your final meet point (or maybe the next grid ref with each item so they can't skip items). Add a rhyming couplet to aid finding each item at the location (In the tree, there you'll seee, grub for you 'n' me). Recipe -> cook pasta, but don't drain. Stir cuppa soup in for flavour and add sausage. yum! Groups of four works well. Also covers light weight cooking.
- Night hunt/hike. Half the group have a task/prize at a location. Half are out to catch them. The hard part is finding a defined area big enough to require nav skills, but small enough that you don't lose them. A local country park usually fits the bill.
- For the next camp don't drive them to the site. Dump them off with a map and say you'll meet them there. Have a leader trail or watch from a nearby hill if you're nervous. We use walky takies for nav in wider areas.
- For beginners forget the trickier bearing stuff. Get them to read the landscape. We have a model of a local hill we use made from craft board 2mm thick, and I talk about U shaped contours and how they are pointers to valleys and ridges, and how to tell which is which. I have had great success with this. Scouts struggling to read a map can be transformed into expert navigators once they start spotting the U shapes on the ground.
- A classic treasure hunt. I have one prepared for Llyn Idwall if you're interested. You just need to pre lay the clues (which can be done as a circular walk.) PM me if your heading to Wales.

Next week we're chasing the scouts in the dark. Fun Fun Fun
tallsteve - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Abbott:
Also, I wrote a programme for creating clock navigation sheets. Clock nav requires an area about 100m across. Set out a clock with 12 due north and 6 due south. Each Hour on the clock (inc. the centre point) gets a letter. They need to nav from hour to hour using the bearing and distance, and write down each letter. Laying out the clock takes a while as it has to be accurate.

http://meolebrace.org.uk/clock-navigation.html

The classic mistake is to stop at the nearest number. e.g. going from 12 to 2 they will stop at 1 as they pass close to it, so the distance is critical!

The program gives you sheets for scouts, an answer sheet, and a list of which letters are to be attached to which "hour".
Neil Pratt - on 30 Jan 2013
Jamie Abbott - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to tallsteve: There's loads of great stuff there Steve, many thanks!

Cheers,
Jamie

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.