Navigating Without Batteries

Navigating Without Batteries – Teach One Reach OneScripture: Genesis 12, 15 and 20

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Abram.
  • Students will learn who important it was for Abram to follow God’s directions..
  • Students will learn how to use things found in nature to travel in the correct direction.
  • Students will participate in an activity allowing them to practice using things in nature to travel in the correct direction.

Guiding Question: How can you use items found in nature to travel in the correct direction without modern instruments?

Materials: sticks, sunny day, trees

Procedure: Review the story of Abram, focusing especially on how God gave Abram directions to follow to find his new home. Show students on a map how far Abram had to travel. Teach students some ways to use nature to find their way back to civilization if they become lost in the wilderness. Make sure to cover the following concepts:

  • Before going on a hike or walk, check a map. Where are you starting and where do you hope to finish? Which direction will you be walking?
  • If you become lost, determine if it is wiser to go back to your starting point or continue to your final destination. The wise choice will depend upon the time of day, the conditions and how far it is to the beginning or end of your journey.
  • Recall which in which direction you were supposed to hike.
  • If you have decided to try and return to your starting point, remember you must reverse the direction you were heading. (Ex.: If you were walking east, you would need to walk west to return to your starting location.)
  • If trees are nearby, examine them closely. Which side has the thinnest bark and the most leaves? That side is facing southeast. Once you know southeast, you can determine the other directions.
  • If you only have a short distance to travel, wait where you are for a couple of hours until you can see in which direction the sun is moving. The sun moves from east to west, so once you have established those directions, you can calculate the direction you need.
  • If it is night or the moon is still in the sky (sometimes you can see the moon during daylight hours), check to see if it is a crescent moon. If it is, draw a line from the top point of the crescent to the bottom point and then to the horizon. If you are north of the Equator, the point you have found on the horizon is south. If you are south of the Equator, the point you have found is north.
  • If it is night, find the Big Dipper (Plough). Find the edge of the cup where the water would come out in a real dipper. Follow that five times the distance between the two edge stars of the cup and that bright star is the North Star. Make an imaginary line from the North Star to the Horizon and that is north.
  • Once you have found the direction you need to travel, make sure to walk in a straight line. Spot a point straight ahead of you and walk towards it. Once you reach it, spot your next straight point and walk towards it. If you come to obstacles you must walk around, alternate which side of the object around which you walk.

Take students outdoors and have them practice the various techniques. Do they think those could help them find their way out of the wilderness?

Additional Question: What are some other ways people can use items in nature when traveling?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students think of other ways nature can be used when traveling. Have them share their findings with the class or other interested parties.