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?

Pathfinders Pre-Camp Lesson Plan

Pathfinders Pre-Camp Lesson Plan

(Grade 3-6)compassWest


From the beginning of time, people and animals have used various techniques to navigate throughout the world. To prepare for the Pathfinders class at Heartland, students will learn about some of these methods of navigation. In addition, they will create their own compasses to understand how these tools work.


  • Students will develop research skills
  • Students will understand one of the different ways animals navigate
  • Students will practice presenting information to their peers
  • Students will understand the basic concept of how compasses work


  • Computer
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Sewing needles (one per group)
  • Small magnets (one per group)
  • Corks (one per group)
  • Small cups of water (one per group)
  • Pair of Pliers (one per group)


  • Introduction & vocab       –  30 min – 1 hour
  • Migrations                        –  1-3 days
  • Create Compass             –  1 hour


Tell the students that when they go to camp at Heartland Conference Retreat Center, they will be taking a class that teaches how to use a compass. Ask: “What are compasses used for?” Wait for responses. “A compass is one tool people use to help them to figure out geographic directions. The needle on a compass will always point to the north. Compasses help us to navigate. Who has heard the word ‘navigate’ before? Who can tell me what this word means?” A simple definition of Navigate is the process of an individual finding their way from point A to point B.  “Why is it important to navigate? What happens when we do not know how to navigate?”

“Using a compass is only one way to figure out how to get places. What are other ways we navigate? What are some ways you know how to get places?”

“Does anyone know how compasses work? Did you know that the entire earth is like one big magnet? A compass points to the North because of the magnetic force of the earth. The magnetic pull from the magnetic pole in the Arctic attracts the magnet inside the compass. This causes the compass needle to point to the North. Let’s define a couple of the words I just said. First of all, raise your hand if you know what a magnet is. Does anyone think they can define the word ‘magnet’?” Let a few students respond. “What about magnetic force. What do you think this is?” A magnetic force is a force caused by the electricity in the atoms of an item (usually a metal). It tends to attract or push away other magnetic objects. “I also mentioned that the Earth has a magnetic pole. What do you think I meant by that? A magnetic pole on the Earth is caused by the planet’s natural magnetism. There are two magnet poles, north and south. These are the locations with the strongest magnetic force. This is why a compass points north.

“Now that we know how a compass works, let’s learn about the parts of a compass. I am going to pass out a worksheet with a simple picture of a compass and we will label it together.” (Pass out the “Parts of a Compass Worksheet.”) Go through each part.

  1. Base Plate: The flat parts of the compass. Always keep the base plate parallel with the ground. If it is perpendicular, it will read incorrectly
  2. Needle: The red needle always points north.  Never follow the red needle unless you want to go north.
  3. Dial: The movable circle that has the degrees of the circle listed.
  4. Orientation Arrow: The arrow on the base of the dial, usually with stripes
  5. Direction of Travel Arrow: The arrow on the base plate that points forward. This should always point in the same direction of their toes or straight out from their belly button.
  6. Degrees: A circle is divided into 360 degrees.  An angle is made of degree and shows how far away from North you are.  As you increase in degree you increase your angle. North = 0 or 360, East = 90, South = 180, and West = 270. More precision can be gained by using actual degrees instead of north, south, east and west.


Nature Navigation

“We talked a little bit about compasses and navigation. What are some reasons people may need to travel?” Some ideas may include trade, exploration, moving to a new place for new opportunities (ex. pioneers or pilgrims), early hunter gatherer societies may have followed game migrations, etc.

“Those are all really great reasons for people to travel. What about animals? Do animals ever travel? What are some reasons an animals may travel?” Find new territory, search for food, shelter, mates, etc. “What is it called when animals make seasonal journeys?” Migrations. “Why do you think that animals may migrate?” Food availability, water availability, habitat requirements for different life cycle stages, and weather conditions. Can any of you think of some examples of animals that migrate for different reasons?” Explain to the students that they will have the opportunity to learn more about animal migrations. Have the students choose an animal that migrates. Either alone or in groups, the students will research about that animal migration: why the animal migrates, where it migrates to and from, and how it navigates (how it knows where it is going). After students gather information, they can create a poster or some other creative way to present their information to the rest of the class. Examples may be:

  • North American birds – migrate due to seasonal changes that affect food availability.
  • Salmon – migrate to lay eggs in calm freshwater streams and then live in the ocean as adults
  • Arctic Tern – longest migration known of any animal. It travels about 43,000 miles every year from pole to pole so that it will experience summer in both the southern and northern hemisphere.
  • African Wildebeest – migrate because of water and food availability
  • Monarch Butterflies – for food and breeding grounds

(There are many videos online that have examples of many types of migrations. Also, there are some clips from Planet Earth that highlight migrations as well.)

People do not know the exact methods that animals use to help them to navigate. However, there are several theories.

  • Some birds use the magnetism of the earth to migrate. Similar to an internal compass!
  • Birds use landmarks such as shorelines and mountain ranges
  • Birds may navigate using the sun, moon, and stars
  • Birds may learn where to go from their parents. Sometimes, if birds are raised in captivity, people need to teach them how to migrate. Check out this David Attenborough video about whooping cranes:

For more about bird migrations, visit


Before practicing compasses at camp, we will learn how they work by making our own compass. Visit the following site for directions on how to create your own compass.

Now that you know how to create a compass and have a basic idea about how compasses work, you are ready to practice navigating at Heartland!


  • COMPASS: A tool used to determine directions. The needle of a compass points to the north.
  • NAVIGATION: The process of an individual finding their way from point A to point B.
  • MAGNETIC FORCE: A force caused by the electricity in the atoms of an item (usually a metal). It tends to attract or push away other magnetic objects.
  • MAGNETIC POLE: The two places on earth (North and South) with the strongest magnetic force.
  • BASE PLATE: The flat parts of the compass. Always keep the base plate parallel with the ground. If it is perpendicular, it will read incorrectly.
  • DIAL: The movable circle that has the degrees of the circle listed. Explain that the numbers are called degrees or bearing.
  • DEGREES: A circle is divided into 360 degrees.  Each longer line stands for 10 degrees and each smaller line stands for 2 degrees.  An angle is made of degree and shows how far away from North you are.  As you increase in degree you increase your angle. North = 0 or 360, East = 90, South = 180, and West = 270. More precision can be gained by using actual degrees instead of north, south, east and west.
  • NEEDLE: The red needle always points north.  Never follow the red needle unless you want to go north.  Follow the direction of the travel arrow, which will be discussed later. The black part of the needle is used for backtracking, which we will not do.
  • ORIENTATION ARROW: The arrow on the base of the dial, usually with stripes.
  • DIRECTION OF TRAVEL ARROW: The arrow on the base plate that points forward. This should always point in the same direction of their toes or straight out from their belly button.

 Parts of a Compass Worksheet




Archery Post-Camp Lesson Plan


(Grades 3-6)


After returning from camp with their archery experience fresh in their minds, students will relate this experience to science. They will try out a hands-on experiment shooting rubber bands.  Then they will play a computer game that teaches velocity and angle.



  • Students will be able to relate archery with aspects of physical science
  • Students will understand that the amount of force and the angle on the projectile results in where the projectile ends up.


Grade Levels:

  • Grade five: The amount of change in movement of an object is based on the mass of the object and the amount of force exerted.
  • Grade six: An object’s motion can be described by its speed and the direction in which it is moving.


  • Rubber bands (could also use play bows and arrows or nerf guns.
  • Computers with internet access
  • Lab sheet handouts
  • Sidewalk Chalk (1 piece per group)
  • Measuring tape (1 per group)
  • Pens


  • Classroom
  • Outside on the blacktop (can be modified to a hallway or gym)
  • Computer lab if classrooms do not have individual computers or tablets


  • Introduction                                            –                                              30 min
  • Rubber Band shoot Lab                      –                                              1-2 hours
  • Computer Game                                    –                                              45 min – 1 hour


“Think back to our experience in the archery class. What caused the arrow to travel all the way to the target? How come it did not stop sooner? What happened if you drew the string back all the way to your cheek? What happened if you only drew the string back halfway?

Is drawing the string back the only thing that affects how far the arrow will go?” No. It is not. “What else do you think might affect where the arrow ends up?”

Gravity: Gravity is the invisible force that keeps us connected to the ground. If you throw a ball into the air, gravity is what makes it fall back down. Gravity is constantly pulling everything down. During archery, you should be aware that your arrow is not going to fly in the direction you shot it forever. Gravity will eventually bring it down to the ground. (For another resource to teach students about gravity, there is a Magic School Bus episode that addresses this concept).

Wind: Wind may also affect where your arrow ends up. A small wind may blow the arrow a little bit off target and a big wind may blow the arrow a lot off target. Archers can get very good at determining where the wind is going and how fast. They can adjust where they aim so that the arrow goes where they want it to.

Angle: “Do you think that there is a difference if you aim straight ahead of you or straight up in the air? Which way do you think would cause the arrow to travel farther? What about if you made the angle halfway between the two?” (Take a vote with the class to see which they think would go farther).


Rubber Band Shooting Experiment

“We are going to investigate how angle affects the distance of the arrow. Because we do not have access to bows and arrows here, we will shoot rubber bands instead.” (Have students get into lab groups and pass out the lab sheets. Explain the procedure and experiment. Teach the students how to shoot rubber bands and then take them outside. If you do not know how to shoot a rubber band, you can look  )

(Alternatively, you could also use this as an opportunity to insert scientific inquiry into the lesson. Present the question to the students but do not hand out the procedure worksheets. Have the students work in their groups to form a hypothesis and come up with a method to test it out. The students will follow their method to find the answer to their question. They can either use the provided data sheet or make their own data sheets. The question that will be investigated is: Do rubber bands travel farther if they are shot straight ahead or at a 45 degree angle?)

Safety: Be sure to tell students not to shoot each other or not to shoot if anyone is in the path of the shooting. Remind them of the safety rules at the archery range.

Computer Game

The students can also investigate how angle and velocity work together to determine where the projectile will end up. Students will work in pairs and compete against each other. Have students go to the following website:

They will follow the directions on the screen. Each student plays as a gorilla. The point is to throw an exploding banana at your opponent by entering in the angle and velocity. Students will use a trial and error method to complete this activity.

After the game, have the class come together to discuss what they learned and how it relates to archery.

Archery and Angles Lab Sheets


  1. Take the measuring tape and make a straight line on the blacktop in front of you.
  2. Use the chalk and make a line at each foot.
  3. Shoot the rubber band straight ahead of you so that it is parallel with the ground. Record how far the projectile traveled.
  4. Repeat this so that everyone in your group has the chance to shoot.
  5. Now shoot the rubber band at a 45o angle up in the air. Record where the projectile landed.
  6. Repeat this so that everyone in your group has the chance to shoot.
  7. If there is time, experiment with different angles of shooting.

What is the question you are investigating?


What is your hypothesis? What do you predict and why do you predict this?


Angle Student 1 Distance Shot Student 2 Distance Shot Student 3 Distance Shot Student 4 Distance Shot Student 5 Distance Shot Student 6 Distance Shot
Straight Ahead
45 degrees


Which angle allowed the rubber band to be shot farther?


Why do you think this happened?


Did this support your hypothesis? Why or why not?


How does this experiment relate to archery?

Archery Pre-Camp Lesson Plan

Here is a suggestion for pre-camp lesson plan that you can do with your students if they are taking the archery class:



(Grades 3-6)


Students will prepare for their archery experience at Heartland by learning vocabulary words about this subject. They will also put themselves in the shoes of a literary character that used archery.


  • Students will be able to properly use archery vocabulary
  • Students will be able to make connections between characters in literature with archery
  • Students will use creativity to write about the use of archery by famous fictional and nonfictional individuals
  • Students will practice creative writing , research, and presentation skills


  • Writing: text types and purposes
  • Writing: Research to build and present knowledge
  • Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas


  • paper
  • writing utensil
  • computer


  • Introduction                                      1 hour
  • Research character                         1 week
  • Creative Writing Activity              2-5 days
  • Classroom Presentation                1-2 days


Tell students that they will be taking an archery class while at Heartland. To prepare them, they will learn some vocabulary about archery and learn about some famous archers in literature and pop culture.

Start by reviewing the vocabulary words with the students. Complete any vocabulary activities that you usually do. A vocabulary matching worksheet is attached to this lesson plan.

Parts of a bow:

  1. Bow – the weapon used in archery.
  2. String – The cord used on a bow. The arrow connects to the string. When the string is pulled back and released, it sends the arrow forward.
  3. Shelf – A part near the middle of the bow that the arrow tip rests on
  4. Grip – The place on the bow that the archer holds.

Parts of an arrow:

  1. Tip – the pointy end of the arrow
  2. Shaft – the long, straight body of the arrow
  3. Fletching – the feathers or plastic bits that look like feathers. This keeps the arrow flying straight after it is released.
  4. Nock – (noun) the end of the arrow where it connects to the bow string. (verb) the act or attaching the arrow to the bow string in preparation to shoot

Other Archery Terms:

  1. Draw – to pull back the arrow
  2. Aim – to point the arrow in the direction you want it to go. The archer has generally already drawn the arrow before he or she takes aim
  3. Fire – to release the bowstring after you have drawn to send the arrow where it is pointed
  4. Dry Fire – when the bowstring has been drawn and released without an arrow. This can break the bow
  5. Stance – the way the archer stands
  6. Target – where you want the arrow to hit
  7. Bullseye – the center of the target
  8. Quiver – a device that holds the arrows you are not currently using



Have students find a partner. Tell them that in their pairs, they will decide on a famous archer to research. After researching the archer, they will pretend to give an interview to that character by asking questions and writing down the answers they think that the character would give. Have each pair in the class pick a different archer to research. Students can either pick an archer from the list or research and find a character on their own.

Here are some examples to choose from. There are many others that can be chosen as well.

  • Potential Archery stories:
    • Lord of the Rings: Legolas
    • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen
    • Robin Hood
    • William Tell
    • Brave: Merida
    • The Odyssey: Odysseus
    • The Avengers: Hawkeye
    • Green Arrow: Oliver Queen
    • Greek Mythology:
      • Artemis and Apollo
      • Hercules
      • Roman Mythology: Cupid
      • Avatar: Neytiri
      • Chronicles of Narnia: Susan
      • Hatchet: Brian
      • Could use different cultures that used archery: Native Americans, Romans, English, etc. (If deciding on this route, have the students pretend that they are interviewing an individual from this culture.)
      • Any other character of their choice (If doing a Google search, will come up with many hits on historical and fictional individuals to choose from. I chose the names of individuals for this list which I thought were best known. There are many lesser known individuals as well.)

After students pick their character, they should spend time researching this person. They should read relevant passages from books and internet