Keywords: orienteering, topographic map, compass, bearing; Lesson Plan Grade Level: tenth through twelfth grade ecology/natural resource management class; Total Time Required for Lesson: two 70-minute blocks (can be modified to fit different times); Setting: classroom and outdoors in a nearby forest

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will gain an interest in the forest and realize the importance of them.
  • Students will learn what orienteering is.
  • Students will learn how to navigate using a compass.
  • Students will explore the forest and identify some trees in the process.

Materials Needed

  • compasses for all your students or enough for several groups
  • topographic maps of the area
  • forest near school
  • numbered cards to place on different tree species
  • tree identification keys ( Summer Key for PA Trees [298K pdf])
  • Trees + Me = Forestry (4-H manual that has exercises on pages 36-43)

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Ecosystems and their interactions (4.6); Humans and the Environment (4.8)

Teaching Model: Lecture incorporating class discussion and questions

Subjects Covered: ecology, biology, forestry, outdoor skills

Topics Covered: tree identification, orienteering, map reading


Lecture material while having students participate by answering and asking questions and allowing them to discuss what is being learned.


Monitor students when doing activity and grade performance on tree identification portion of exercise and orienteering performance.


FRIT Class, Penn State, Dr. Sanford Smith

Hansen, Robert S., and James C. Finley (1996). Trees + Me = Forestry. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford S., Paul Brohn, Terry D. Rader, and James J. Grippo (2002). Summer Key for PA Trees . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.


Lecture Material


Eric Broughton, Liberty Jr. Sr. High School