Cardinal Directions, Duct Tape & Cones

This is a lesson that came to me in the middle of the night while I was brainstorming ideas to teach the cardinal midpoints to a student. It can be used to focus on many other concepts such as the movement of the sun, the location of the sun in the sky, time concepts, etc. Depending on a student this idea can be completed in one session or broken up into several lessons.

I first place down strips of duct tape with my student’s help and ask where the sun rises and sets.


After East and West have been established I ask them to place down North and South. This can also be used to teach a student that the sun is in the southern sky (of course depending on what side of the equator you read this from) by placing an object to represent the sun (I have a yellow clock) on the correct side of the dividing line.



I then talk to the student about the movement of the sun in the sky throughout the day and ask them to place the clock in the correct location during different hours. Here are some examples of noon and the sunset.


The next step is to introduce the cardinal midpoints. Once these are placed down it completes a circle and I joke around that the world is not flat so this is a better representation of the real world. A hula hoop can be added to add a visual circle and may also be a good adaption for a student who is totally blind. Whatever object you use to represent the sun can be used again too.

compass6 compass7

Once the student begins to develop skills you can quiz them by removing all the sheets, place them face down and have the student choose one at random to place in the correct spot.


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