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  • In this activity, students learn the cardinal points of the compass. They also learn how to use the Sun and star constellations – the Southern Cross and the Pointers – to identify the cardinal compass points.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • recall the cardinal compass points
    • explain how the compass points relate to the South and North Poles
    • use the rising or setting Sun to determine east and west (and therefore north and south)
    • locate the Southern Cross
    • use the Southern Cross and the Pointers to locate the Southern Celestial Pole (SCP)
    • use the Southern Cross to determine compass points and therefore direction.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student handout.

    Related content

    Astronomical techniques involve knowledge of the night sky and are useful for wayfinding. Find our more in these articles:

    Activity ideas

    Try these related activities:

    • How’s your memory? involves the memorisation of the star compass components – just like the real navigators.
    • Compass treasure hunt uses knowledge of the Sun and Moon to make compass directions and uses these directions in a treasure hunt.

    Useful links

    The Youth Group Games site has lots of instructions for games for groups, including Port and starboard (aka:Hit the deck) – useful to teach boat positions

      Published 13 November 2014 Referencing Hub articles
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