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Pathfinders Post-Camp Lesson Plan

(Grade 4-6)


While at Heartland Conference Retreat Center, students had the opportunity to learn how a compass works and how to follow directions using a compass. This lesson takes the concept a step further by adding maps. Students will practice drawing and reading maps and see how compasses and maps work together to help a person find their way.


  • Students will be able to label the parts of a map
  • Students will be able to find real life objects based on a map
  • Students will practice using both a compass and a map


Grade 4:

  • A map scale and cardinal and intermediate directions can be used to describe the relative location of physical and human characteristics of Ohio and the United States.

Grade 5:

  • Globes and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places and environments. Cartographers decide which information to include in maps.
  • Latitude and longitude can be used to make observations about location and generalizations about climate.

Grade 6:

  • Globes and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places and environments. Cartographers decide which information to include and how it is displayed.
  • Latitude and longitude can be used to identify absolute location.


  •       Paper
  •       Writing utensils
  •       Compass
  •       “Treasure” student brings in to hide (Have it be something small and inexpensive like a McDonanld’s toy or gumball machine prize. You could also pass out simple prizes so they do not have to bring things from home and it is fair. Examples could be stickers, erasers, pencils, etc.)


This lesson takes place in the classroom, in the school yard, and at home.


  •         Parts of a map                                         –                                           30 min – 1 hr
  •         Designing a treasure map                     –                                          1 hour
  •         Scavenger Hunt                                      –                                           1- 2 hours
  •         Mapping the neighborhood                 –                                           homework


Now that you have developed skills in using a compass, you need to learn how to navigate using it. A compass tells you very little if you do not have a map or other directions to go with it. We learned about how to use a compass while we are at camp so now we will talk about maps. Before we practice using maps, let us learn about some of the vocabulary.

  • CARTOGRAPHY – the making of maps
  • TITLE – the title of the map. It should be descriptive enough so that people know what they are looking at
  • COMPASS ROSE – shows which direction is north on the map
  • CARDINAL DIRECTIONS – North, South, East, and West
  • SCALE – It allows people to determine distances in real life between points on the map by measuring the distance on the map. For example, 1 inch on the map may equal 10 miles in real life.
  • LEGEND OR KEY – tells people what the symbols on the map mean
  • LATITUDE – imaginary line that circles the earth parallel to the equator. It tells how far away from the equator a person is. It describes North and south distances
  • LONGITUDE – an imaginary line the circles the earth and runs perpendicular to the equator. It describes east and west distances.

Label the parts of the map, worksheet


Tell the kids that they will now get the chance to practice drawing maps. Take the kids outside to the school yard. Give them paper and some sort of writing utensil. If you have a compass, have them use it to figure out which way is north. Separate them into groups and have each group construct a map of the school yard with proper labels for each part of the map.

To take this activity a step further, you can have students bring in some sort of white elephant type prize to hide somewhere in the school yard. The group can then create directions using a compass that leads to the “treasure” they can write the directions on the back of their map. They should have at least 4 steps before reaching the treasure. Have them mark the starting point on the map.

The groups should switch maps and try to find the other groups treasure. Have them mark on the map with a dot the location of each stop. Have them mark on the map with an “X” the location of the treasure.


As a homework assignment, the students can map their houses, neighborhoods, routes to school, etc.

Parts of a Map Worksheet

The following is a map of a made up campground around an imaginary lake called Awesome Lake. Please label each part of the map.


Use the following words to label the parts of the map:

  • West
  • South
  • Legend
  • North
  • Title
  • East
  • Compass Rose
  • Scale

Question: Latitude and Longitude were not present on this map. Why do you think this is?

Signs of Spring: Butterflies!


What images come into your mind when you think of spring? There are many things that may appear during this beautiful season – blooming flowers, budding trees, and many types of insects are a common sight. A very familiar, visual blessing is the butterfly. Butterflies are fascinating creatures that paint the landscape between spring and fall. There are about 165,000 known species that are found on every continent except Antarctica!3

Butterflies come in many various colors and types. The picture above is of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Have you ever seen this type of butterfly before? It is one of the most well known butterflies in the eastern United States, so there is a good chance that you have!

Are butterflies born looking like butterflies? No they aren’t! Butterflies go through a process called metamorphosis. First the egg is laid, the egg hatches producing the larva (caterpillar), it goes through the pupa stage which is also known as the resting stage, finally becoming an adult (the butterfly).

During mating, the males patrol habitats that contain plants that females lay their eggs on. The male releases a perfume-like smell to attract females. You may then see two butterflies flying together, flitting around, before landing together – this is the visual act of butterfly mating. Males also gather together in damp areas and near puddles.1 They do this to collect salts and other nutrients from the soil which is then transferred to the female during mating.2

Did you know that butterflies cannot fly when they’re cold? Butterflies are cold-blooded, meaning that they cannot regulate their internal body temperature. An ideal flying day for a butterfly is between 82°F and 100°F.2 If the temperature is under 55°F, the butterfly is flightless. They even have to shiver or lay in the sun to warm up all of its muscles on colder days!

Can you imagine that your feet actually functioned as your tongue? That is exactly the case for butterflies; they taste with their feet! They have receptors on the bottom of their feet that allow them to taste or know what they are standing on.4 When they are ready to eat, they use their proboscis, which is like a straw that stays curled underneath the butterfly’s chin.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is just one type in a vast array of butterflies. This spring, go outside and count the many different butterflies you find! Figure out ways to catalogue your many different finds (ie, complete a drawing or write a poem). Nature is full of amazing beauty; what will you discover?

Written By Kim Burndam


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papilio_glaucus
  2. http://insects.about.com
  3. http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/butterfly
  4. http://www.lucysbutterflyfarm.com/holding.html
By |2016-10-13T15:26:49+00:00April 28th, 2015|Ohio Outdoors|0 Comments

Random Acts of Kindness

Today, February 17, is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the United States of America. Random Acts of Kindness is a movement designed to impact the world in a positive way through kind actions. The idea is that if one person performs a kind act, it will spread throughout the community. For more information, stories, and even lesson plans regarding kindness, visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/

If you would like to help spread kindness, here are a few very simple things you can try:gps-class

  1. Hold open the door for someone
  2. Write an encouraging note
  3. Smile: a smile can brighten up a bad day
  4. Wash the dishes or do some other chore for a family member or friend
  5. Bake cookies and share them
  6. Allow someone to go in front of you while waiting in a line
  7. Fill any need that you happen to see

Discover how you can change the world with one small act of kindness!


By |2016-10-13T15:26:50+00:00February 17th, 2015|Educator Resources, Making a Difference|0 Comments

Science, Anyone?

What do you think of when you think of a scientist? Do you picture an “Albert Einstein” type figure with crazy hair, a lab coat, and a fizzing test tube? Do scientists have to wear lab coats and have fancy degrees? The answer is a resounding “No!” Anyone can be a scientist! All that is needed is an inquisitive mind and the ability to search for an answer. Because of this children make excellent scientists. They are constantly asking “why” and looking for answers. If you are a teacher or a parent, take this as an opportunity to help your child learn about the world around them.

If you desire to do science but don’t know where to start, there are some really great citizen science projects that you can be a part of. If you like birds, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology webpage to find some projects to join:


One of their projects coming up next month (Feb 13-16, 2015) is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Check it out and see how many birds you can find in your own backyard!

If birds aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other opportunities studying a variety of topics including rocks, space, frogs, bugs, plants, and many more. Scientific American has a webpage with a nice collection of many different projects to choose:


So go out there! Find a topic you are interested in, and start doing science!

You never know what you might discover!

Otters in Ohio

Mustelids are what we call animals that are in the same family as weasels, minks, and ferrets. Perhaps one of the most lovable of this family is the river otter. River otters are a playful animal that spends much of its time in and around water habitats such as streams and lakes. These species were extirpated from Ohio in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This means that they went locally extinct from Ohio, but were still found in some other states. In the 1980’s a project was started to reintroduce these animals back into the rivers of Ohio. It is now thought that there are around 8,000 river otters in Ohio, many of them occurring in the northeast areas of the state.

In the area of Ohio where Heartland is located, the amount of river otters is estimated to be low to rare. However, as we were walking near Alum Creek on our property, we observed what appeared to be a river otter. We are curious to find out if we have an otter that has decided to make Heartland its new home. Next time you come to visit, check out our creek area and see if you can discover any evidence of this elusive creature.

For more information on river otters check out what the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has to say:


To see river otters in person, be sure to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium which has a nice exhibit for viewing these curious and playful animals.

By |2016-10-13T15:26:54+00:00December 10th, 2014|Ohio Outdoors|0 Comments

Thanksgiving and Turkeys

This article was originally posted in the November of 2010 issue of Heartland newsletter Nature Notes.

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621? A lot of people think that turkey was served at that meal, but no one knows for sure. It was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. After that the turkey became a very common item on the Thanksgiving menu. Some people also think that Benjamin Franklin wanted the Wild Turkey to be our national bird instead of the Bald Eagle. The Wild Turkey was not one of the options when our Founding Fathers chose our national symbol. After the Bald Eagle was selected as our symbol, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter suggesting that the Wild Turkey would have been a better option.

The turkeys that we eat today for Thanksgiving were domesticated in Europe back in the 1500s. The Pilgrims brought some with them when they came here in 1620. The pilgrims may have brought domestic turkeys with them, but we already had a lot of Wild Turkeys in the United States. The Wild Turkey has excellent hearing and daytime vision. That makes them pretty sneaky and hard to hunt. If you’re ever in the woods and you hear that distinctive gobble, then there’s a big male Wild Turkey somewhere in the neighborhood. Happy Thanksgiving!

By |2014-11-19T12:41:55+00:00November 19th, 2014|Ohio Outdoors|0 Comments

Farewell, Flo!


If you have visited Heartland’s Nature Center in the past couple of years, you may have noticed our American Alligator, Flo. As one of our animal ambassadors, she has played a key role at fostering respect and appreciation for the amazing creatures sharing our planet. Flo was a favorite among students and they enjoyed the unique opportunity to pet such an interesting creature. While we enjoyed having Flo live in our nature center, we unfortunately have relocated her due to changing laws in Ohio. About two weeks ago, one of our staff members drove Flo 235 miles to the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Michigan. Flo adapted immediately to her new home and is doing well. She will continue to be used for educational purposes and represent her species and the conservation concerns of the Everglades. While we will miss having her at Heartland, we know that she will be well taken care of and a valuable addition to the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary. Farewell, Flo.

The following picture shows one of the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary staff members releasing Flo into her new habitat



By |2016-10-13T15:26:54+00:00October 3rd, 2014|Camp Highlights|1 Comment

Hummingbird Moth

Heartland Conference Retreat Center is blessed with beautiful habitats that are perfect homes for many plants and animals. From the prairie to the stream, from the woods to the wetlands, there are so many places for the native creatures to live and thrive. And thrive they do. It is amazing how many interesting things can be found here, if you take the time to look.

Check out this hummingbird moth that was spotted at our prairie.



Hummingbird Moths are a diurnal moth that moves and looks remarkably similar to a hummingbird, hence the name. It even makes a similar humming noise as it beats its wings at an estimated 30 times per second.



What amazing animals will you discover here at Heartland?


By |2016-10-13T15:26:54+00:00August 13th, 2014|Ohio Outdoors|0 Comments