Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- For Compass Golf. For every four or five participants: A long rope and tape or markers to draw a large circle on the ground; four pegs or sticks to mark north, south, east, and west; a small tin can and golf, tennis, or other small balls that will fit into the can; a trowel for digging a hole for the tin can in the ground; a golf club or a stick for each participant; and paper and pencil for recording the number of strokes
- For Closed Course. For each team of two or three participants: A compass, a place marker (such as a beanbag, a backpack or bag of gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins), and a copy of the handout, Closed Course Compass Directions
- For Dutch Compass Game. A long staff (such as a broomstick, a tent pole, or a long straight branch)
Preparation for Activity
- Choose the games to play. Use any combination of these, depending on the children in the group, the space available, and the amount of time you have.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors - Active Version. Identify a large open space for a playing field. Use markers to define two "free zones" at opposite ends of the playing field.
- Compass Golf. This game requires flat, unpaved ground in which you can dig a hole deep enough to set a tin can. Four or five players can share a playing circle and tin can.
- Closed Course. This game requires a large, open space. Photocopy the handout, Closed Course Compass Directions, for each team of two or three children.
- Dutch Compass Game. You will need an open space at least twenty feet square for up to sixteen players.
Description of ActivityParticipants will embody the events in the story, "Fire, Water, Truth, and Falsehood" by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors and experience what a compass is and does, through games.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
If the group has room to run and more than six children, play the active version of a game that is often played while standing or sitting. If the group has six or fewer children or includes movement-challenged participants, play the stationary version.
Both versions are based on three symbols and three rules.
A fist is Rock. A flat hand is Paper. Two fingers (held open to resemble the blades) are Scissors.
Paper covers Rock. Rock breaks Scissors. Scissors cuts Paper.
Divide the group into two teams, by counting off "one, two" or another way. Show the children the free zones for each team.
Gather the teams in the center of the area. Demonstrate how to make the Rock, Paper, and Scissors symbols and explain the three rules.
Direct each team to form a huddle in its free zone and agree upon a symbol. Teams meet back in the center with symbols in mind. Both teams chant, "Rock, Paper, Scissors . . ." and then all players of each team show their symbol. In a split second, teams can tell which team wins and which loses. Everyone on the losing team runs back to their free zone with the winners in pursuit. Those tagged by the winners become members of the winners' team.
If both teams show the same symbol, teams rehuddle and play again.
Play for a predetermined number of rounds. The team with the most players is the winner.
If you do not have a large, open space or the group has six or fewer children, form pairs of children to play the game while sitting or standing. Invite each child in a pair to hold their hands behind their back and decide on a symbol. Then, both children chant together, "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and then bring a hand forward at the same time to show the symbol they chose. Based on the three rules, one of the pair wins and can symbolically perform the actions in the rules. NOTE: Sometimes, in schoolyard play, a child will hit another's "scissors" hard with their fist ("rock"), or a child with "paper" will squeeze a "rock" very hard. Tell the children to make sure their actions are symbolic and not harmful.
If you have time, challenge pairs to see who can win two out of three times, or four out of seven times. You can also invite children to switch partners and play some more.
Form groups of four or five children. Guide each group to use the rope as a radius and mark off a circle in which to play, and then set their small tin can in the center of the circle so its rim is flush with the ground. Help them use a real compass to mark on the ground. Mark north, south, east, and west with small pegs on the circle's circumference. These are used to tee golf shots toward the buried can. Record how many strokes you need to get in from each point.
Play in a large area such as a field. Make teams of two or three children, and scatter the teams around so each team starts at a different point. Have the teams mark their starting point with a beanbag, backpack, or other marker. (Gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins are a popular option!)
From their starting point, teams follow a set of bearings and distances. If they do it correctly, they should finish at the same point where they started.
Dutch Compass Game
This game requires at least eight players. Arrange participants in a circle ten to twelve feet in diameter.
Choose one child to be the umpire, who stands in the center of the circle holding a staff upright with one end on the ground. On the words, "Fall in," players take up positions on the circle (facing inwards) to represent the compass points, the umpire indicating where a space is to be left to represent north.
The umpire then calls a compass direction, such as "east south east," and simultaneously releases his/her hold of the staff. The player occupying the ESE position on the circle must catch the staff before it falls. If that player succeeds, he/she returns to the circle, and another direction is called.
When a player fails, he/she goes to the north space on the circle. The vacated place becomes the new north, and all of the other players immediately need to figure out their new compass points. The umpire calls new directions and drops the staff again.
Including All ParticipantsRock, Paper, Scissors. If the group includes a movement-challenged participant, play the stationary version of the game.
Compass Golf. Invite a movement-challenged child who can write to keep track of the scores.
Closed Course. A movement-challenged child can remain at the starting place to mark it, and call out the direction and the number of steps for his/her group to take.
Dutch Compass Game. Have a movement-challenged child be the holder of the staff. He/she can remain stationary in the middle of the circle.