Getting distance and direction across to fourth graders sure can be tricky! Not only does it challenge kids with abstract concepts, but it requires thinking BIG! Finally, there's a way to bring these ideas down to size. With a summer fun compass of her own, your child will be practicing this skill all summer long.
Have your child dampen the sidewalk or drive with a spray bottle. This will help the chalk marks stay in place.
Encourage her to use the compass to find north, south, east and west. With the sidewalk chalk, draw a compass showing all four directions. Explain that this is one way of telling people where things are.
On a local map, assist her in locating several places she'll be going this summer. Using the map's direction arrow, show her how to tell which direction each place is from your home.
Cut out construction paper arrows. On each arrow, write a place that you'll be going this summer. Possibilities include the swimming pool, park, camp, tennis lessons, Bible school, Uncle Bill’s house, and more. On the back of each arrow, write how far away this location is and how long it will take to get there (2 miles for the pool, 10 minutes; 14 miles to Aunt Kate’s, 40 minutes, etc.).
When you get ready to go to one of these places, give your child the arrow. Can he place it on the compass, pointing in the correct direction?
If necessary, correct the placement of the arrow, and then move on to the second part of the challenge. How long is the trip? On the way, discuss things that affect how long it takes to get somewhere: distance, traffic, types of roads, means of travel, etc.
Lastly, help her get a feel for the world she's moving through and challenge her to stump you when it comes to finding new locations.