Posted by: csdailyblog | October 28, 2010

Learning to Navigate and Measure Paces in Field Instruction

Field Instructor Bennett Rock and student Sarah compare compasses, while Jake, Anna, and Connor watch.

Last week students learned to determine the length of their pace so that they could estimate distances and also practiced using a map and compass to navigate around campus. Watching the class in action, I learned that a pace is actually two full strides, not one. In the photos, you can see students watching their feet and counting their paces, journals and pencils in hand, as they walk down the path behind the tobogganing hill. A warm sun and light breeze made for a beautiful afternoon, and students, perhaps sensing that the week’s mild weather was autumn’s last hurrah, took some time away from the lesson to run up the tobogganing hill and roll down it. (In the past few days we’ve enjoyed near-freezing temperatures, high winds, and heavy sleet, with power down in most of Land O’ Lakes due to downed trees. Our power supply is unaffected.)

Ari, Caitlin, Emma, Julia, and Kate

Students learned these navigation skills in preparation for their overnight camping solos this past weekend and this coming weekend. All of the solos a few days ago went well, despite some rain. The students returning to campus in the morning were eager to share stories about the coyotes, deer, otters, and owls that they had heard or seen overnight. (A few students hadn’t previously known that deer vocalize, but on their solos they had first-hand demonstrations of deer snorts, which are surprisingly  loud and startling.) Another set of students is due to head out on their solos Friday afternoon, and fortunately the blustery weather should be over by then.

Mary Anna

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