Orienteering around Aston Park

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Aims and objectives
The activity aims to develop students’ map reading and problem solving skills by competing in a ‘virtual’ orienteering race against the clock. The activity will also help develop spatial awareness and the ability to translate a 2D image into a 3D space.

Previous knowledge
Students will need to have some basic experience of working with maps. They would also benefit from having an opportunity to study the specific map and key provided in the support materials prior to attempting the activity.

In the classroom
Orienteering is a sport where competitors navigate their way between control points marked on a specially drawn map. Orienteering can take place in a variety of outdoor places, from town parks to countryside, forest and moorlands. Orienteering is a perfect outdoor activity for schools and can be used as an element in the National Curriculum for PE, Geography and mathematics.

Outdoor orienteering is a skill that needs careful preparation. This activity is designed to help students in that preparation.

This activity takes the student around Aston Park in Birmingham. At the start of the activity they will be asked to submit a name. Clicking on 'Return' or 'Enter' button on the computer starts the orienteering exercise and the clock starts ticking.

At point 1 the student is presented with two photographs and has to decide which of the two best describes Point 1 (If point 1 cannot be seen on the map it can be moved around by 'click and drag'). The photographs can be made bigger by double-clicking on them. Encourage the students to look at the key on the right hand side of the screen to check what the lines and colours on the map mean. Finally they can make their decision by clicking on the picture that they think is the correct check point.

The pictures fade and photographs of Point 2 appear on the screen. Find point 2 on the map and continue with the process described above until all seven points have been identified.

At the end of the activity the student is presented with the number of correctly identified check points together with a total time taken for the exercise.

Although the activity is best suited to individual or small group work it can also be a really useful tool when used for whole class teaching with an interactive whiteboard. Students can be encouraged to discuss the check point photographs and relate the features in the images to the map through using the key. Not only does this provide an opportunity for assessment also helps identify areas where students may need additional support.

As an extension activity, why not get the students to create a map of the school then get them to take a digital camera around the school, take some pictures from unusual viewpoints and create your own ‘virtual orienteering’ course?

Support materials description: Resources type:
The aston_hall_map.pdf contains a copy of the orienteering map and key relating to the activity. This can be printed out onto stiff paper and laminated for use in the classroom prior to starting the activity. Alternatively, it can be printed onto acetate for use with an OHP. aston_hall_map.pdf

Curriculum references
Geography – KS3:
2c, d, e

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