Operation Bearings: Top Secret

18 June 2011 · 2 comments

in Maths Outdoors, Social Subjects Outdoors

This post is written by Jamie Mundie, a Primary 7 teacher who designed this simple project-linked outdoors maths activity. Thanks for sharing, Jamie.

This lesson was designed to tie in bearings and angles works that a maths group were currently working on, alongside the World War 2 topic the class had been working on for a few weeks.

Pupils from the aforementioned maths group had previously drawn their own compass rose in the playground and had been given different instructions to assess knowledge and understanding on directions and angles. For example, “Turn 45˚ clockwise from SE.”

The class were introduced to the lesson through being welcomed as the WWII training recruits to hopefully become Intelligence Operatives (Spies!).

I prompted the class about the need for map reading skills and how it was useful in modern society as well as in a WWII context. We then discussed the word “bearings” and what it meant.

I then split the class into groups of 3 or 4, with a member of the maths group acting as squadron leader. As a class I showed them a compass and we all got the bearing of North. Each group was given the task of drawing their own compass rose, ensuring each “cadet” was contributing to the rose.

We came back as a class and discussed angles. Using one rose, I demonstrated 3 simple turns, asking the class to follow my lead.

Each squadron leader put their group through their paces with a series of commands, but they were told only to use 45˚, 90˚ and 180˚ turns at this point.

We went back into class and using a compass image on the whiteboard I explained about 3-figure bearings. As a class we labelled each direction with the associated bearings. I emphasised the point about always taking the bearings from North.

I congratulated the cadets on passing the first stage of their training and then explained about the mission they were about to undertake. The success criteria were made clear at this point…to come back from this dangerous mission safely and with the mission accomplished.

The extended activity was for the pupils to make up their own missions using their own bearings.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Science@Sciennes February 23, 2013 at 10:14

Thank you so much for sharing this activity. We are doing world war 2 with out classes in my school and myself and my colleague are going to have a go at this in the playground.


Juliet Robertson February 23, 2013 at 10:26

You are welcome. Another blog post relating to WW2 is http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/outdoor-activites/what-do-you-do-when-you-dont-know-what-to-do-outdoors/ where the class had to use playground marking to invent a game using WW2 as a context.


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