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.
Astronomical techniques involve knowledge of the night sky and are useful for wayfinding. Find our more in these articles:
- The star compass (kāpehu whetū) uses cardinal directions and 220 stars to show where stars will rise and set on the celestial equator.
- The celestial sphere uses reference points like the horizon, the zenith and stars’ altitude to determine direction.
- Navigating with Sun, Moon and planet looks at how the rising and setting of the Sun and Moon and recognisable planets are useful for wayfinding.
Try these related activities:
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