Earth Attractions

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this activity, learners build and test a compass. Learners work in pairs and pretend they are stuck in the wilderness at night. They must use the supplies provided to build a simple compass to determine which way to walk to reach the town. This lesson plan includes a worksheet and map for learners to use during the activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Compass
  • Access to a small amount of water (bucket, small bin, bowl, etc.)
  • Big sewing needles
  • Magnets
  • Plastic bowls
  • Simple Compass Worksheets
  • "You Are Here" Maps
  • 1 inch square or circular pieces of thin Styrofoam
  • Pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 2002