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Ways to Celebrate 'Marooned Without A Compass' Day

"Marooned Without A Compass Day" is November 6, and is the perfect holiday for teaching your classroom about the little, magnetic "old-fashioned GPS", and how early explorers used them to navigate the open ocean. It's a day meant to remind us of our inner sense of direction… or lack their of.

Here are a few classroom activities you can do to learn about how important compasses were for discovering and mapping the world as it is today—and getting back home to tell the tale!

1. Ask "If you were lost on a desert island, what would you do?"

Imagine your class just found themselves lost on an island in the middle of the sea. Now what? Have the classroom work together or in groups to create a survival plan. Talk about necessities like food, wood and shelter, and ask them what steps they would take to escape and return home. Would they build a raft? Send a message in a bottle? Would they learn about each other's skills, and delegate responsibilities?

2. Watch a movie about stranded survivors.

Survivor stories are some of the best, and there's no shortage of great stories about what to do in this sticky situation. Children Grade K–8 would appreciate "The Swiss Family Robinson", or "Flight 29 Down", a fun, Discovery Kids television program about teens marooned on a tropical island. Season 1is free to stream on YouTube. (Season 1, Volume 1) (Season 1, Volume 2) Older high school students may appreciate "Castaway", starring Tom Hanks.

3. Read up on Pirate lore.

Being marooned without a compass was a common punishment for unruly pirates. This list of books from National Geographic is great for students K–8 to learn all about the inner workings and lives of seafaring pirates.

4. Make Your Own Compass.

These directions from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) outline the way to make simple compass. . Before the kids are hard at work, tell them about the origin of the compass rose and how early explorers used them to navigate nautical charts. If creating a working compass proves a little too difficult for younger kids, use this print out to learn about the parts of a compass, and let kids decorate it to their liking.

5. Go on a treasure hunt, and learn how to use a compass.

Design a fun treasure hunt adventure with clues that need the compasses your students made, (or some you supplied yourself). Kids will learn how to use a compass correctly in search of a treasure chest filled with fun toys, candy and other enjoyable items. It's also a good idea to remind kids to always bring a compass with them whenever they travel out into the wilderness. While modern day GPS is useful, it's always good to keep up on sharp directional and navigational skills incase a battery runs out, or they travel in an area with poor Internet reception.

Article by Samantha DiMauro, EducationWorld Contributor