Compass Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Using a compass is a great life skill for students. This lesson plan teaches students the parts and purpose of a compass, then applies this knowledge to active use before checking understanding with a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify parts of a compass
  • explain the purpose of using a compass
  • use a compass to determine direction


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson How to Use a Compass: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Compasses, one for each student
  • Plastic lids from jars like mayonnaise or peanut butter, or small shallow bowls
  • Water
  • Needles
  • Magnet
  • Cork
  • Paper
  • Colored pencils

Key Vocabulary

  • Geomagnetic field

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Prepare for the lesson by choosing a place, such as your classroom, school building, playground or nearby park, and having students sketch a map of this area.
  • Ask them to include details. For example, if you choose the playground, have students sketch in play equipment, trees, bushes, and the trash cans.
  • Once back in the classroom, review directionality concepts of north, south, east and west with students.

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