Outdoor Ed

OUTDOOR ED: Peer teaching navigation skills and route planning

Following from my previous post about “providing meaningful opportunities for students to learn through experience” and as part of 3AB outdoor education (soon to be name ATAR unit 3-4), my year 12 students are currently facilitating a few lessons with a year 10 outdoor education class. The first three weeks were all about group development and team building. The next two session are on navigation skills and route planning. The aims are as follows:

  • Navigation skills: Revise map interpretation, grid referencing, scale conversion and using a compass
  • Route planning: Accurately complete a route plan (stages, grid references, bearings, distance, estimated travel time, route description)


  • Instructions: Use the Nanga Map and/or Bibbulmun Track Map to plan an overnight bushwalk in the Dwellingup area. Be sure to consider ‘risk’ and ‘safety’ when planning this bush walk – ie. consider experience of participants, fitness levels, terrain, emergency access routes and water availability
  • Resources: Map(s), compass, ruler, string, calculator
  • Prior Learning: Year 10 students must already have an understanding of interpreting maps (legend, scale, grid references) and using a compass (parts of a compass, taking a bearing, walking on a bearing)
  • Key elements to focus on: This was a list of ‘key words’ (Map interpretation, Converting scale, Grid references, Taking a bearing, Naismiths rule) given to the year 12s for them to keep in mind when completing the activity. Yes its about completing the task, but, the focus was on teaching or reinforcing these ‘key elements’ with the year 10 students. The easiest way for me to explain this was to give them examples of what they should LOOK or SOUND like when working with the year 10s:
    • Looks like: You demonstrating the skill once and then giving them a go. Them doing most of the work and you providing positive support and guidance.
    • Sounds like: You asking them questions about the task (ie. How long do you think that section will take us to walk?), plus, you asking them to explain their answers or reasons (ie. Why do you think it will take 10mins?)
  • Feedback (from year 10s only): Each student to complete a ‘leadership skills review’ of their peer teacher. This review asks students to rate (out of 5) their peer teacher on: preparation, organisation, knowledge, clarity of explanations (ie. communication) and positive encouragement.
  • Debrief (with year 12s only): How did you prepare for this session? What made the task easy, or difficult, to complete? What did you struggle to explain effectively? What skills did they struggle to grasp? What does your peer review rating suggest to you? Was there a common route chosen by the groups? Why do you think this ‘location’ is suitable, or not, for this group of year 10s? How accurately do you think you’ve estimated ‘walk times?’ What might interfere with these walk times in reality? Where to from here (ie. Is there a unanimous route chosen? do we need to find a more suitable location? Do we need more or less walking? Are their suitable campsites available in this area? What other activities are available in the area? What do we want the program goals to be >> use this to guide activity choice)

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