Time needed: 15 minutes
Setup: With a compass you can find your way anywhere in the world. Even though these days, you might use your cell phone, an app, or the GPS system in your car to get directions, you can accomplish the same thing with a compass. This handheld instrument indicates 360 different directional degrees, or bearings, in which you can travel. When you’re outdoors hiking or camping, if you know how to read a compass, you’ve mastered a smart survival skill that can take you down a nature trail, through a park, into and out of a forest—or even across your own backyard! You’ll need a compass to get started—and don’t forget to ask a parent, Girl Scout volunteer, troop leader, or trusted adult to help as you learn how to orient yourself, which means figuring out your location on planet Earth!
Activity: The most important thing is to learn the four basic directions found on a compass. Look at your compass and you’ll see these letters arranged around the edge of the compass housing in a circle: N stands for north. E stands for east. S stands for south. W stands for west. These directions are known as the cardinal points of a compass. If you can read a clock, you can read a compass—the directions, or cardinal points, are arranged on a compass the same way as the numbers on a clock. Here’s another way to remember them: North (N) is at 12 o’clock, east (E) is at 3 o’clock, south (S) is at 6 o’clock, and west (W) is at 9 o’clock. Remember these directions by thinking: “Never Eat Slimy Worms.”
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Troop Leaders: The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in the Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.
Girl Scout Activity Zone activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming.