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Finding Your Way

Elective Adventure

The ancient Greeks went on many adventures. Their writings told of faraway lands and treasures. To explain where their adventures took them, they created geography. Geography is the science of the Earth’s surface. Geo means “earth” and grapho means “to write.” Maps and compasses are tools that have helped travelers know if they are headed in the right direction.  

In this Adventure, you will learn to read maps and use one on a walk. You’ll also get to make your own map and use a compass on a scavenger hunt. Just like the ancient Greek explorers, it’s time for you to lead the way on another great adventure. 

Requirements

Using a map, locate where you live.
Google Maps Adventure
LocationIndoor
Energy 1
Supply List2
Prep Time1

Cub Scouts use Google Maps to show where they live.

  • Computer or tablet with internet access.

Before the meeting: 

  1. Contact Cub Scouts’ parents or legal guardians and ask that they write down their address for their Cub Scout to bring to the next meeting or use Scoutbook to identify each Cub Scouts address. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Tell the Cub Scouts that we use maps to help us find where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there.  The first step is knowing where you are.  Today we are going to identify on a map where you live.  
  2. Navigate to Google Maps on the computer or tablet.  
  3. Have Cub Scouts gather around the computer or tablet.  
  4. Ask each Cub Scout in turn to type their address into the Google Maps search bar. 
  5. Ask questions: 
    • What do you see on the map near your home? 
    • Does anything look like it does not belong on a map? 
    • Can you find your school? 
Home Sweet Map
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts find and show their town on a map.

  • A map of your community centered on your den meeting location, one copy for each Cub Scout 
  • Pencil or pen for each Cub Scout 

Before the meeting:  

  1. Using an app with mapping capabilities use your meeting location as a starting point. 
  2. Zoom out of the map to encompass your community and capture the neighborhoods that the members of your den live in. 
  3. Use Scoutbook to identify where the members of your den live.  
  4. Print a copy for each Cub Scout of the map. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Tell the Cub Scouts that we use maps to help us find where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there.  The first step is knowing where you are.  Today we are going to identify on a map where you live.  
  2. Pass out the maps and pencils or pens to each Cub Scout. 
  3. Have Cub Scouts look at the map and ask if anyone can identify a street, building, or other landmark on the map.  Work to guide Cub Scouts to identify common landmarks and major intersections.  Guide Cub Scouts to help them find their neighborhood and then their house.  
  4. Ask Cub Scouts to locate where they live and circle it. 
  5. Work with the Cub Scouts to locate where they go to school and circle it. 
  6. Work with the Cub Scouts to locate where the pack meetings are held.  
Draw a map for a friend to locate your home or school. Create a key for the map.
Let’s Go Home
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts draw a map to their house.

  • 8 ½”x11” paper, at least one sheet for each Cub Scout 
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils 

During the meeting: 

  1. Have Cub Scouts buddy up. 
  2. Explain to Cub Scouts that they are going to draw a map to get from their house to their school .  
  3. Have each Cub Scout create a symbol for their house and a symbol for their school.  This is the legend. Put the symbol in a box in the lower right corner of the paper.   
  4. Have them think about the buildings they might see on their way to their school.  Think about grocery stores and libraries.  Create a symbol for each building and put it in the legend. 
  5. Each Cub Scout should then draw a map from their house to their school using the symbols (keys) in their legend to mark buildings and other landmarks. 

Tip: This activity can be combined with Requirement 3 Make a Compass Rose activity. 

Find the directions north, east, south, and west and the compass rose on a map.
Make A Compass Rose
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about directions by making a paper plate compass rose.

  • Make a Compass Rose found in Additional Resources 
  • Printer  
  • One 9” paper plate for each Cub Scout 
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils 
  • One glue stick for every two Cub Scouts 
  • One pair of scissors for each Cub Scout 
  • Wolf handbook 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Print Make a Compass Rose, one for each Cub Scout. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Explain to the Cub Scouts that when we look at a map, we need to have a way to tell what direction the top of the map is pointing to.  Is the map pointing north, south, east, or west?  Maps traditionally are drawn with the top of the map pointing to north.  Maps use what is called a compass rose to confirm what direction north is on the map.   
  2. Knowing what direction north is on a map allows us to position the map in real life in that direction, this is called orienting the map.  Today most digital maps will do this as an option, we can either have the map stay pointing north or the have the map stay oriented to the direction that you are moving.  
  3. Pass out compass rose printable and paper plate to each Cub Scout. 
  4. Have Cub Scouts color the parts of the compass rose and cut them out. 
  5. Ask Cub Scouts to glue the parts to their paper plate. 
  6. Tell Cub Scouts to use their Wolf handbook as a reference and write the directions on the compass rose. 

Make a Compass Rose

Find the directions north, east, south, and west using a compass.
Campsite Compass
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn directions with this campsite compass activity.

  • Campsite Compass found in Additional Resources 
  • Pencil or pen for each Cub Scout 
  • Access to Campsite Compass Answer Key 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Print Campsite Compass game, one for each Cub Scout. 
  2. Print one copy of the Campsite Compass Answer Key if needed. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Hand out game sheets and a pen or pencil to each Cub Scout. 
  2. Tell the Cub Scouts to use the compass rose on the bottom of the question sheet and the campsite map to answer the questions. 
  3. When Cub Scouts have completed the activity, have them swap their question sheet with a buddy so that they can check each other’s answers. 

Campsite Compass game

Campsite Compass Answer Key

Create A Sundial
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List3
Prep Time3

Cub Scouts make a sundial.

  • Paper plate for each Cub Scout 
  • Bendy straw for each Cub Scout 
  • Sharpened pencil for each Cub Scout 
  • Compass, used both at the meeting and at home to finish project 
  • Tape 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Ask Cub Scouts’ parent or legal guardian to bring a compass to the meeting if they have one. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Tell Cub Scouts that they’ll be making a sundial.  
  2. Pass out supplies. 
  3. Ask Cub Scouts to carefully poke a hole through the center of the plate using the pencil. 
  4. Instruct Cub Scouts to push the straw through the hole and tape the short end underneath to hold it in place. 
  5. Explain to Cub Scouts that they’ll need to do part of this activity over a day’s time at home, but that they’ll be practicing what to do. 
  6. Tell Cub Scouts to place their sundial on the floor. Explain that when they’re home, they’ll put their sundial in a sunny area. They may need to find rocks to hold their sundial down. 
  7. Ask Cub Scouts to use their compass to find north. Next, they need to tilt the straw slightly north. Explain that when they do this at home, the tilted straw will cast a slightly longer shadow.  
  8. When Cub Scouts are at home, they will mark the shadow with the time. 
  9. Every hour, Cub Scouts will check their sundial and will mark the shadow with the time.  

Tip: This is a good activity to do during a pack campout. 

Simon Says Never Eat Soggy Waffles
LocationIndoor
Energy 4
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn directions by playing a Simon Says using a compass.

  • Compass 
  • Four pieces of paper, labeled North, South, East, and West 
  • Masking tape 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Make signs for north, south, east, and west. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Explain to Cub Scouts that they’re going to play Simon Says Never Eat Soggy Waffles.  
  2. Stand in the center of the room with the compass and ask Cub Scouts to gather around. 
  3. Demonstrate how to use the compass. Discuss which wall is north, south, east, and west. Have a Cub Scout take each of the signs and tape it to the appropriate wall.  
  4. Ask Cub Scouts to line up, side by side. 
  5. Tell Cub Scouts that when they hear “Simon Says” and a direction, they are to turn and face that wall. For example, after “Simon Says East,” Cub Scouts should turn and face the east wall.  
  6. Proceed with calling out directions with and without “Simon Says.” 
  7. Cub Scouts who don’t face the correct wall at the correct time are out. 
  8. Continue playing until there is only one player left. 
Practice using both a map and a compass.
Go Geocaching™
LocationOutdoor
Energy 4
Supply List2
Prep Time5

Cub Scouts go Geocaching using maps and a compass.

Before the meeting: 

  1. Visit the Geocaching website and find a cache that is accessible for your Cub Scouts. 
  2. Review “Ten tips for newbies looking for their first geocache.” 
  3. Bring along a small token to place in the cache if appropriate. 
  4. Download the Geocache app on your phone or smart tablet. 
  5. Notify families that the den will be going on a Geocache.  Let them know where to meet. 
  6. Cub Scouts should bring their Cub Scout Six Essentials. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather at the meeting location. 
  2. Explain how Geocaching works. 
  3. Head out and find your cache. 
Map Meandering Mission
LocationOutdoor
Energy 4
Supply List3
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts practice using a map and compass while taking a walk in their neighborhood.

  • Copy of a map of a local neighborhood, one for every two Cub Scouts 
  • Compasses, enough for each Cub Scout 
  • Activity Consent Form 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Decide on a route for a short walk in a local neighborhood. 
  2. Mark several points on the map where Cub Scouts can safely stop to orient themselves. 
  3. Ensure the walk has all four directions for the Cub Scouts to walk: north, south, east, and west. 
  4. Make copies of the map with the marks. 
  5. Notify Cub Scouts’ parents or legal guardians about the walk location and where to meet. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Tell Cub Scouts that the den is going on a walk using a map and a compass. Explain that you will be “north.”   
  2. Tell Cub Scouts that whenever they get to a point that is marked on their map, everyone will stop, and you will be facing a point north.  
  3. Explain that Cub Scouts will orient themselves using their compass. They can do this by standing still and turning their compass until the north point is facing the same direction as the leader.  
  4. Tell Cub Scouts to call out the direction they’re facing. Ask the other adults on the walk to confirm that their answer is correct. 
  5. Have Cub Scouts practice a couple of times before you start your walk.  
  6. Go on the walk in the selected neighborhood. 
Park Map Journey
LocationOutdoor
Energy 3
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Practice using a map and compass at a park.

  • Map of local park, one copy for every two Cub Scouts 
  • Compasses, enough for each Cub Scout 
  • Activity Consent Form 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Locate a local park that has a map and decide on a route.  Many parks have a map online. 
  2. Mark several points on the map where Cub Scouts can safely stop to orient themselves. 
  3. Ensure the walk has all four directions for the Cub Scouts to walk: north, south, east, and west. 
  4. Make copies of the map with the marks. 
  5. Notify Cub Scouts’ parents or legal guardians about the walk location and where to meet. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Tell Cub Scouts that the den is going on a walk using a map and a compass. Explain that you will be “north.”   
  2. Tell Cub Scouts that whenever they get to a point that is marked on their map, everyone will stop, and you will be facing a point north.  
  3. Explain that Cub Scouts will orient themselves using their compass. They can do this by standing still and turning their compass until the north point is facing the same direction as the leader.  
  4. Tell Cub Scouts to call out the direction they’re facing. Ask the other adults on the walk to confirm that their answer is correct. 
  5. Have Cub Scouts practice a couple of times before you start your walk.  
  6. Go on the walk in the selected park. 
Print

Safety Moment

Prior to any activity, use the BSA SAFE Checklist to ensure the safety of all those involved.  

All participants in official BSA Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scoutingand applicable program literature or manuals.   

Be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.  

To assist in the safe delivery of the program you may find specific safety items that are related to requirements for the Adventure. 

Before conducting a craft activity, review the Craft Tips video (2 minutes 34 seconds.) 

Before starting this Adventure complete the following:  

If there is someone in the den, youth, or adults, who carries an EpiPen due to severe allergies make sure that at least one other adult knows how to administer the EpiPen. To learn more, review this Safety Moment on anaphylaxis. During the Adventure: 

  • Use the buddy system. 
  • All adults are to provide active supervision.

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