Today I was rostered on as one of the parent helpers for the grade 1/2 Project Based Investigation session. The sessions have been run twice a week through out this term and they allow the kids to explore in a more hands on, in depth way some of the concepts and theory they are learning in class.
The group I was working with had the task of creating a wind vane. The other parent allocated to this group had been on the wind vane project before, so it was great to have her expertise!
The aim of the project was to make a wind vane, take the kids outside postion them so their wind vane is pointing in the right direction, that is north is facing north, then as the wind blows the arrow around, the kids determine what direction the wind is blowing.
Unfortunately we couldn’t get the full effect as the constant rain and lack of wind didn’t allow us to properly test out the wind vane.
As the kids began the activity and marking out North, East, South and West on their paper plate, I shared how I was taught to remember the compass directions –
- Never (North)
- Eat (East)
- Soggy (South)
- Weet Bix (West)
To my surprise none of the children were aware of this and thought it was quite a fab trick to remember the directions.
Compass Directions For Kids
My grade one boy wasn’t in my group and I have taught him the above trick, but decided to extend his knowledge of compass directions. I thought an app would be a perfect way to do this, but found there wasn’t too many aimed for kids. I bought Smudge Compass and Direction for $0.99. It only works on the iPad (not iPhone or iTouch).
The instructions and additional information on the app are very informative and give great ideas for teaching points away from the iPad.
There are two games – Where has Smudge Gone? is the first game the kids start with. You need to use your fingers and drag Smudge to the direction written and spoken. The game has three levels:
- The first where it only has N, E, S, and W on the compass.
- The second has only NE, SE, SW,and NW.
- The third combines all 8 directions N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW.
The game doesn’t seem to have an end point though. The 7 year old moved Smudge 50 times and it just kept going, asking him to move Smudge in another direction. The game is a good teaching tool, but it is not one that the kids will go back to frequently on their own.
Where is Cecily? is the next level the kids can play. In this game you need to select the direction the cat has come from, in the example above you would choose N for North.
This game also has three levels introducing the directions as noted above for the Smudge game. It too seems to have no end point and the kids just need to keep selecting where Cecliy came from.
The 7 year old caught on to the compass directions quite quickly, so the constant repetition of the game does help cement the learning!
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