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Position and Orientation Units of Work

Level 1 Position and orientation

Achievement ObjectivesLearning OutcomesUnit title
  • use the language of direction to describe the route through a maze
  • use the language of direction to guide a partner through a maze
  • rotate their body and other objects through 1/4 and 1/2 turns
  • follow a sequence of directions
Amazing Mazes
  • describes the position of an object
  • follow and give directions involving 1/2 and 1/4 turns
  • follow and give a sequence of instructions related to movement and position
  • follow a sequence of directions
Scatter Cat
  • describe where objects are using the language of position
  • give and follow instructions using the language of position and direction
Directing Me
  • show a quarter turn and a half turn in a number of situations
  • see that to quarter turns equals on half turn
  • recognise the ‘corner’ of a shape that is equivalent to a quarter turn

Level 2 Position and orientation

Achievement ObjectivesLearning OutcomesUnit title
  • give and follow directions using, left , right, up, down, North, South, East and West
  • draw and follow a path on a grid to show a route followed
  • label and follow legends on a map
  • describe the difference between movement and direction
  • order a set of movement and direction instructions
  • create a set of instructions
  • use a map to identify views from a location
  • use compass directions to describe the direction of landmarks
  • describe pathways between map locations

Level 3 Position and orientation

Achievement ObjectivesLearning OutcomesUnit title
  • draw and interpret simple scale maps
  • use maps or plans to propose actions
  • understand the use of a compass to specify and find directions
Location, Location
  • find and describe the location of an object using co-ordinates
  • follow and give directions involving turns (left and right), compass directions (N, S, E, W)
  • follow and give instructions involving distances by interpreting simple scales
Street Maps

Level 4 Position and orientation

Achievement ObjectivesLearning OutcomesUnit title
  • use Cartesian and polar co-ordinates to describe the position of an object
  • find the location of an object using Cartesian or polar co-ordinates
X Marks the Spot
  • Draw a scale map of the classroom
  • Find the location of an object using Cartesian coordinates or bearings
Map it
  • follow directions given in bearings
  • invent their own maps using bearings
  • use a protractor to produce maps
Red October

Level 5 Position and orientation

Achievement ObjectivesLearning OutcomesUnit title
  • construct perpendicular bisectors of lines
  • construct bisectors of angles
  • use these skills to construct equilateral triangles and squares with a given side length, parallel lines, parallelograms and trapeziums, and regular polygons with a small number of sides
  • use construction techniques, given defined parameters, to produce nets and to illustrate loci
Ruler and compass constructions

The goals at primary school level for this section of Geometry are a sound knowledge of direction and how direction can be specified, the construction and use of simple maps, and a feeling for paths both how to recognise them and how to specify them.

Direction starts at Level 1 with simple turning with body movements. It develops in Level 2 with the introduction of the notions of clockwise, anti-clockwise, left and right and the notion of a right angle. By Level 3, children should be working with a wider array of angles and using them to help specify position. But position cannot be specified solely in turns of angle so angles should be used with distances to give an indication of position. Coordinates come in at Level 4 to give a more precise specification of position.

Simple maps can be introduced at Level 2. This work can be made more complicated at Levels 3 and 4 with the introduction of coordinates and compass bearings.

Paths also begin at Level 2 with simple drawings illustrating routes that would interest children. At Level 3 the work on paths becomes more complicated until they are able to tell which paths involve the longest or shortest routes. At level 4 the compass can be brought in to assist in following paths. Here too children will be able to investigate the paths of objects that move in ways that are relatively easy to describe.

Below we give some activities that will be useful in this section of geometry:

Levels One and Two: As in many other areas, in Position it is a good idea to start from the children and their world. The classroom and the school are places that the child spends much time and so these can provide the raw material for exploring and learning about position.

To develop awareness of direction children might engage in the following activities:

  • put a teddy bear in the centre of a circle of children. Who will the teddy bear face if it turns through a quarter/half turn?
  • relate quarter and half turns to numbers on a clock.

Maps and paths might be developed by:

  • talking about the main points of the classroom. Then drawing and discussing a ‘map’ on the board. Act out a path from one point on the map to another;
  • put some objects on a desk. Ask the children to map the desk top;
  • make and discuss maps of the playground. How do you get from one point to another?
  • play buried treasure.

Levels Three and Four: At this level children are less ego-centric and activities could well move into the wider world. Some activities here might include:

  • use a street map to give directions;
  • make a map of the school;
  • go orienteering.