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3 DIY Orienteering Exercises to Navigating Your Way in the Wilderness

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

John Muir

 

Just as you wouldn’t try to set up your tent for the first time in the woods (right?), don’t wait to practice different methods of navigation until you’re in the wild. Here are a few orienteering exercises to help you hone your skills and build confidence before you set out.

 

Exercise 1: three-leg compass walk

For this exercise, you’ll need a compass and a stick or pencil to use as a location marker. Make sure you have enough space to roam around. Place the location marker on the ground, set your bearing due north, or zero degrees, and note a prominent landmark that falls in line with this bearing. Walk fifty paces in the direction of the landmark, and then, from this second location, set your compass bearing for 120 degrees. Find a second landmark that lines up with your new 120 degrees bearing, and walk fifty paces toward it. Next, set your third bearing for 240 degrees, line it up with a landmark, and walk another fifty paces toward this final landmark.

 

If you set your compass bearings accurately, you should return to the approximate location of your original marker.

 

Exercise 2: closed course

This exercise is best completed with a partner who wants to practice navigation skills. First, draft a list of bearings and paces for each participant. Participants can also take turns writing their own sets of instructions. Your list should look something like this:

  • Walk twenty paces east
  • Walk thirty paces south
  • Walk fifteen paces east
  • Walk forty paces north

And so on. You can make the list as long as you like, but the main objective is to have each participant end up at the same place when they are finished. Each participant should carry a compass and a stick or pencil to mark their starting locations. Add a little fun to the game by setting a timer to see who can complete a certain list the fastest. It’s a good idea to test your own list first, so that you’re sure the participants will return to their starting places when they get to the end of your instructions.

 

Exercise 3: geocaching

Geocaching involves using GPS latitude and longitude coordinates to locate a hidden cache. With GPS capability built into most smartphones, it’s an easily accessible way to practice your GPS coordinate  skills. A geocache is usually stored in a waterproof box and contains a variety of interesting finds. Fun for all ages, it’s like a modern-day treasure hunt!

 

Given the growing popularity of this activity, geocaches can now be found all over the world—in cities and in nature. Applications like Geocaching can be used to approximate the location of the geocache with GPS coordinates, but then it is up to you to figure out the hiding place from there. Sometimes it’s necessary to look at a map to determine the best—and safest—possible route, because natural obstacles, such as rivers, lakes, or cliffs, can stand in the way.

 

Some geocaches are located in hollowed-out logs, while others are buried under rocks. In cities, geocaches can be found at the base of street lamps, under park benches, and in nooks and crannies in the exteriors of buildings. Some are hidden in plain sight, such as a plastic rock with a geocache inside of it. Geocaching challenges you to elevate your observations (an important tool in navigation!), because the people who hide geocaches come up with clever ways to conceal their locations. Don’t forget to look up!

 

Inside the geocache, you’ll find a variety of items. Most geocaches include a log book, where you can write your name and the date you located the cache. Some geocaches also include trinkets like plastic toys, currency from around the world, inexpensive jewelry, and useful items like stress relief balls or insect repellent wipes.

 

One of the tricky parts of geocaching is that sometimes the people hiding the geocaches lack an accurate GPS device or precise navigation skills. This can mean that you could find the physical location of the geocache’s coordinates, but still be ten to twenty feet from the actual geocache site, due to human or technological error.


Miles Tanner is an avid outdoorsman who has written for numerous publications about survival and outdoor skills. He lives outside of Billings. Montana

Check out Navigating With or Without a Compass here.

The Star Thief

Star Thief cover

The Star Thief

By Lindsey Becker

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Mythology, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Conflict Resolution

Grades: 3-7

 

LB School Podcast

Honorine’s life as as maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night….

 

Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

CatStronauts

Catstronauts: Mission Moon coverCatStronauts: Mission Moon

By Drew Brockington

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Adventure: Science Fiction, Graphic Novels: Space/Air Travel, Humor: General, Science: Astronomy/Space/Aviation

Grades: 1-5

 

Theme Song LB School Podcdast

CatStronauts, you are needed!

 

When the world is thrust into darkness due to a global energy shortage, the Worlds Best Scientist comes up with a bold plan to set up a solar power plant on the moon. But someone has to go up there to set it up, and that adventure falls to the CatStronauts, the best space cats on the planet! Meet the fearless commander Major Meowser, brave-but-hungry pilot Waffles, genius technician and inventor Blanket, and quick thinking science officer Pom Pom on their most important mission yet!

 

 

CatStronauts: Race to Mars coverCatStronauts: Race to Mars

By Drew Brockington

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Adventure: Science Fiction, Graphic Novels: Space/Air Travel, Humor: General, Science: Astronomy/Space/Aviation

Grades: 1-5

 

Fresh off of their heroic mission to save the world, the CatStronauts–Major Meowser, Pom Pom, Blanket and Waffles–are taking a well deserved victory lap. Parades and fancy awards dinners are the new norm!

 

But around the world, other cat space programs are watching–in particular the CosmoCats, the first cats to go to space! With national pride and scientific research on the line, the world’s space programs rush to be the first cats to Mars, and the CatStronauts are starting months behind! Can they catch up and prove their first mission was no fluke?

The Secret Keepers

The Secret Keepers coverThe Secret Keepers

By Trenton Lee Stewart

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Mysteries, Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Educator Guide

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. At first he is thrilled with his new treasure, but as one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his innately honest nature and the lure to be a hero.

 

Now he is on a dangerous adventure–full of curious characters, treacherous traps, and hairsbreadth escapes–as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. Even with fearless Penny, mighty Jack, and the wise Mrs. Genevieve on his side, can Reuben outwit and outmaneuver the sly villain called The Smoke and his devious defenders the Directions and save the city from a terrible fate?

 

In this ingeniously crafted novel, acclaimed author Trenton Lee Stewart invites readers to join the adventure, decipher the clues, and ask themselves the question: Is knowing a secret a gift or a curse?

 

PRAISE

★ “Stewart has created an exciting, fully imagined world filled with mystery and danger, where children can have real adventures without parental supervision. He doesn’t shy from putting the children in true danger, both physical and moral, keeping readers on tenterhooks until the final page.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Children will be caught up in the mystery, trying to decipher the clues as they follow Reuben and his new-found friends in their race to save the town from a dreadful future…  All in all, this is another winner from Trenton Lee Stewart.” —School Library Connection

 

★ “Fans of Stewart’s ‘MysteriousBenedict Society’ and series like it will devour his latest novel. This epic story filled with adventure and twists and turns is certain to keep readers’interest from beginning to end.” —School Library Journal

 

 

When The Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver coverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Heroes/Heroines, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Activities Readers Theatre Educator Guide

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

 

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

 

A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

 

PRAISE

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “Lin’s evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious.” —Booklist

 

★ “Lin’s stonecutter claims that storytellers ‘can make time disappear… bring us to places we have never dreamed of…feel sorrow and joy and peace’; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “The meticulous craft delivers what Lin’s fans have come to expect… This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky offers lyrical storytelling, bringing ‘us to places we have never dreamed of.'” —Kirkus

 

★ “Lin’s fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language with beguiling similes.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes

 Adventurers Guide to Successful Escapes coverThe Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes

By Wade Albert White

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Adventure: Mysteries

Grades: 3-7

 

Anne has spent most of her thirteen years dreaming of the day she and her best friend Penelope will finally leave Saint Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children. When the big day arrives, a series of very curious happenings lead to Anne being charged with an epic quest. Anne, Penelope, and new questing partner Hiro have only days to travel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes–or face the horrible consequences.

 

Packed with action, humor, and endless heart, this debut novel marks the first volume in an irresistible and original fantasy series.

 

 

PRAISE

 

“Tongue-in-cheek writing keeps the story funny and fresh. fast pacing—not to mention dragons and robots—will keep readers invested in this lighthearted new series.” —Booklist

 

“Ridiculous yet nail-biting action, this is a highly distinctive, smart take on the fantasy novel. Readers will find a humorous tale of adventure, friendship, and courage, all led by a brown-skinned protagonist.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“The first in a fantasy adventure series with a unique crew of characters, this will tickle funny bones and leave readers awaiting the next installment.” —School Library Journal

The Candymakers

The Candymakers

By Wendy Mass

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Mysteries, Science: Inventions, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: 3-7

 

In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will make a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew?

 

Logan, the candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by feel alone?

 

Miles, the boy allergic to rowboats and the color pink?

 

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy as if it were a feather?

 

Philip, the suit-and-tie-wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook?

 

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

 

 

Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase coverThe Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase

By Wendy Mass

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Mysteries, Science: Inventions, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: 3-7

 

It has been a few months since the Harmonicandy was chosen as the winner of the nationwide candymaking contest. Forever changed by the experience, Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when presented with the chance to go on tour to promote the new candy, they each have very different reasons for hitting the road.

 

The stakes are a lot higher than they thought, however, and a decades-old secret is revealed. In this action-packed adventure, the four friends embark on a journey full of hidden treasures, imaginary worlds, rivers of light, a map of awe, a sky of many colors, and one very small cat who thinks he’s a dog.

 

And candy.

 

LOTS and LOTS of candy.

 

They’ve already learned to trust one another. Now they’ll have to trust themselves in order to face what lies ahead and save what really matters.

 

 

PRAISE

“Reveals a multitude of mysteries…Attentive, candy-loving readers will be richly rewarded.” —Booklist

 

“Earnest and sweet, with enough salty twists not to taste saccharine.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“A real page-turner…Give this mouthwatering confection to children who like Trenton Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

NanoBots

Nanobots coverNanoBots

By Chris Gall

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Sports/Teamwork/Competition, Adventure: Science Fiction, Personal Development: Responsibility, Personal Development: Individuality

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Educator Guide

 

A boy inventor creates the ultimate in high-tech superheroes that could one day save the world–but they have some smaller problems to take on first! NanoBots are tiny. They’re almost too small to see, but they can each do a unique and important job: Medibot makes sure their Inventor never catches a cold…. Chewbots gobble up that gum the Inventor trampled into the carpet… Binobot scans the scene of a crime for clues the Inventor could never see… and Seekerbots explore to meet microscopic new creatures.

 

These bots and their high-tech friends sure make the inventor’s life easier, but when the most AWESOME robot in town is in real trouble, they must band together and prove that sometimes the SMALLEST helpers can be the BIGGEST heroes! Includes fun facts about real nanotechnology in the backmatter.

 

PRAISE

★ “Gall leads fans of his Dinotrux into microscopic realms, where industrious crews of tiny robots, produced by a proud young basement inventor, are fanning out to clean up messes, gather knowledg, protect, build, and repair. Each bulbous, anthropomorphic NanoBot has a specialized task…  Carted off to a science fair, the tiny Bots all feel “pretty small” next to the other exhibits, but get a chance to shine when the giant robot next booth over starts to fall apart. NanoBots to the rescue!” —Booklist

 

★ “Gall introduces miniature robots with infinite potential for adventures on and off the page…  Gall’s precise illustrations, metallic palette, and ready-for-action heroes should captivate the imaginations of mechanically minded readers, as will closing notes about real-life uses of nanotechnology.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Exploding with energy and humor, Gall’s zoomed-in digitally created artwork conveys each miniscule machine’s personality and functionality. An author’s note introduces the science of nanorobotics and potential applications of devices with capabilities similar to the characters introduced here. A pleasing amalgamation of imagination, STEM concepts, and superhero-style storytelling perfect for group reads and small group sharing.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

The Wild Robot

wild robotThe Wild Robot

By Peter Brown

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Adventure: Science Fiction, Adventure: Survival

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

[button link=”http://www.allthewonders.com/podcasts/peter-brown-lets-get-busy-episode-247/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is—but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

 

As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home—until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

 

PRAISE

★ “A WALL-E-esque tale of wilderness survival and friendship…  Brown’s first attempt at writing for an older audience is a success…  Readers will take a shine to Roz, and an open ending leaves room for more robot adventures.” —Booklist

 

★ “Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling…  Thought-provoking and charming. ” —Kirkus

 

★ “Brown convincingly builds a growing sense of cooperation among the animals and Roz as she blossoms in the wild. The allegory of otherness is clear but never heavy-handed, and Roz has just enough human attributes to make her sympathetic while retaining her robot characteristics. Brown wisely eschews a happy ending in favor of an open-ended one that supports the tone of a story that’s simultaneously unsentimental and saturated with feeling.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Set in the not-so-distant future, this thoughtful story unfolds slowly, matching Roz’s pace as she observes and integrates into island life. The environmental and technological dangers introduced halfway through are impactful; they threaten the tightly knit community so carefully cultivated by Roz and the animals…  Short chapters and read-aloud-worthy third-person narration pair beautifully with Brown’s grayscale illustrations. Grounded in striking, eye-catching compositions, his artwork combines geometric shapes and organic forms and textures, providing context and building atmosphere.” —School Library Journal

Frostblood

Frostblood

By Elly Blake

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Action & Adventure; Fantasy & Magic

Grades: 7 & up

 

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Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

 

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies–but together create a power that could change everything.

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