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Bring adventure into your Physical Education lessons with orienteering

by | May 11, 2015 | Schools

Physical Education forms a big part of the Life Orientation syllabus from Intermediate to FET Phase. Learners are encouraged to participate in physical activities that will improve their general fitness and wellbeing, assist them in working together as a team and teach them good sportsmanship.

Wherever possible, it is ideal for learners to be active outdoors. Encourage them to take part in physical activities that they will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives, long after they have left school, such as hiking and orienteering.

Orienteering is a unique and exciting sport which develops self-confidence and teamwork skills. Participants use a map (plan) and/or a compass to find a series of check points in an open area of ground. Orienteering offers a challenging and inexpensive way for learners of all abilities, whether they are in primary school or high school, to explore the outdoors.

Many adults belong to orienteering clubs and compete against each other on a regular basis.

One way to make orienteering more exciting is to include a treasure hunt in which the objective is to work as a team to collect all the “treasure”.

  • Set up 15 control points, numbered 1 to 15, around the school grounds in such a way that they are hidden by buildings, trees, parked cars or other obstacles.
  • Draw a map of the area showing where the numbered control points are.
  • At each control point, hide some treasure. Use easily available objects, such as rulers, shoes, books and balls, but make sure that there is one for each team at each control point, i.e. if there are eight teams, you will need to put eight rulers at Control Point 1, eight shoes at Control Point 2, etc.
  • Divide learners into teams of not more than five.
  • Give each group a rope, note cards, a pencil and a map of the school grounds.
  • The map should show any equipment, such as cones or hoops which you may have set up for the lesson, as well as landmarks like trees, pathways, buildings and goalposts.
  • Distances should be marked with the number of paces between each control point.
  • Give the learners all the bearings and distances on the course (or only give them the information for their first control point and tell them that the next control point’s bearings and distance will be with the hidden treasure).
  • Teams 1 and 2 will start at Cone 1 as their home base and will continue to Cone 2 …3 …4 until 15.
  • Teams 3 and 4 will start at Cone 3 as their home base and will continue to Cone 4 …5 …6 until 2.
  • Teams should count their paces between control points.
  • Team members should assist each other through and/or around obstacles when necessary.

Making a map:

The ability to find your way from place to place, even in an unknown area, is very important so learners need to be able to read and understand maps.

  • Provide each learner with an A4 piece of blank paper, a pencil and an eraser.
  • Learners must divide the sheet of paper into four even blocks (quadrants) and draw a map of the school grounds, covering all four quadrants.
  • Learners must also create a legend, explaining the various features they have included in their map, such as buildings, trees, rocks, roads and facilities in the school grounds.
  • Once the maps are complete, put learners into pairs to compare the similarities and differences between their maps.

This information has been extracted from the new Oxford School Improvement: Life Orientation – Get a jumpstart on Physical Education guide. Visit www.oxford.co.za to download your free copy.

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