This is a great activity to reinforce measuring skills with a protractor and ruler. Students will also need to determine whether angles open clockwise or counter-clockwise. In this activity, each student will design an orienteering course on paper for his or her classmates to follow. Just like in outdoor orienteering, small errors in direction or distance can leave you far from the finish point. Once complete, students will follow each other’s courses and then check their final location against what the creator of the course recorded.
To design their courses, students begin with points A and B printed on a sheet of paper. They will then decide where to put points C through G on the paper. Their directions to each successive point will be given as an angle measure, designated as opening clockwise or counter clockwise from the previous line segment, and the distance along that angle to the next point.
Student will record directions for their course on the sheet provided and record the “answer” at the bottom. Students will fold the bottom of their paper to hide their answer while their classmates follow the directions.
You will need a ruler and protractor for each student, and they will need to have had some practice using each accurately. One of the biggest challenges is getting the clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) designations correct. At any point students may call an angle CW or CCW, but one of those will be a reflex angle (between 180 and 360 degrees). You may want to limit students to angle measures less than 180 degrees, or for a challenge, make them use reflex angles.
This is a fine activity for the end of a geometry unit, or for within the unit to reinforce measuring skills. There is a good deal of independent work for the students, leaving you free to offer additional instruction to students who need it. It may help to have the designer of a course assist his or her classmates in following their course, as there may be errors that they can sort out together. You could also come up with some courses yourself, that you are confident are correct, and have students practice with those. I have included one practice course for the 8.5x11-inch paper and one for the 11x17-inch paper. Both come with a file showing the final completed course and the step-by-step measurements for making each.