Compass Course Contest




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Compass Course Contest
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bulletInter-Patrol Contest
bulletEasy Way to Teach Compass
bulletField 100'x100' Required.
bulletAdvance Preparation Required
bulletCompass for each Scout in Largest Patrol
bullet16 Stakes and a Measuring Tape

After you have read this, see if you can think of an easier way to teach compass work, and a more pleasant way for Scouts to practice walking compass courses with three changes of direction. The courses have been calculated by trigonometry, so you know they are accurate.

Advance Preparation

Assemble your Troop in a park, on a baseball diamond, or a field at least 100' x 100'. While the Scouts are walking back and forth over a 200' stretch to determine the average length of their step, drive 16 stakes 5 feet apart on a line running due East-West. Number the stakes, beginning with 1 at the West end of the line, and working East.

Four Courses

Each course bears the same number as the stake from which it starts. Assemble the Troop and provide each PL with a copy of one of the courses below:

From Stake No. 4 

bullet Go 36 for 122 Ft. 
bullet Then go 174 for 50 Ft. 
bullet Then go 228 for 74 Ft. 


From Stake No. 6 

bullet Go 3 for 100 Ft.
bulletThen 132 for 74 Ft. 
bullet Then 225 for 69 Ft. 


From Stake No. 8 

bullet Go 346 for 102 Ft.
bulletThen 129 for 78 Ft. 
bullet Then 211 for 58 Ft. 


From Stake No. 12 

bullet Go 348 for 102 Ft. 
bullet Then 135 for 71 Ft. 
bullet Then 207" for 56 Ft.


Here are the exact spots for finishing the above courses: 

bullet For Course No. 4 - Stake No. 8; 
bullet For Course No. 6 - Stake No. 8; 
bullet For Course No. 8 - Stake No. 9; 
bullet For Course No. 12 - Stake No. 13. 

Scouts should not be given these locations either before or after the practice work.

The Practice Work

Instruct PLs to let Scouts who know how, step off a compass course, as described in the Handbook for Boys. Help those who do not. Have the experienced Scouts check both distances and changes of compass directions. In this manner let each Patrol mark a single finish spot at the end of its course, while a Troop Leader remains behind and measures the errors (only after the Scouts leave) to the nearest foot, and reports then to the Troop.

Contest for Following Week

In preparation for the second contest, copy the courses below on 8 separate cards, and give the set to the Patrol which will be first to start the contest. Remind everyone that the number of each course indicates the Stake from which it starts. Each Scout walks one of the courses.


bullet Go 36 for 122 Ft.
bulletThen 149 for 58 Ft.
bulletThen 235 for 86 Ft.



bullet 38 - 125 Ft. 
bullet 237 - 90 Ft. 
bullet 186 - 50 Ft.



bullet22 -107 Ft.
bullet158- 54 Ft. 
bullet 186- 50 Ft.



bullet34 -119 Ft. 
bullet 186- 50 Ft. 
bullet 228- 74 Ft.



bullet 346 -102 Ft. 
bullet 129- 78 Ft.
bullet186- 50 Ft.



bullet335 -109 Ft. 
bullet 174- 50 Ft.
bullet145- 61 Ft.



bullet 17 -104 Ft. 
bullet 237- 90 Ft.
bullet141- 67 Ft.



bullet 12 -101 Ft. 
bullet 237- 90 Ft.
bullet138 - 67 Ft.


The correct destinations for the above courses follow: 

bullet No. 1 finishes at Stake 7, 
bullet No. 3 - Stake 2, 
bullet No. 5 - Stake 16, 
bullet No. 7 - Stake 8, 
bullet No. 9 - Stake 15, 
bullet No. 11 - Stake 10, 
bullet No. 13 - Stake 12, 
bullet No. 15 - Stake 13.

Seal the list of these destinations in an envelope and give it to each Patrol Leader just before he takes his Patrol to the field. Tell him not to open the envelope until all members of his Patrol have finished their courses. He then measures and reports the error of each Scout. As soon as he measures the errors he returns with his Patrol on the run. The leader of the contest then seals the list in another envelope, gives it to the second Patrol Leader who carries on in the same manner The Patrol with the smallest error wins.

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Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Compass Course Contest ] Dessert Treasure Hunt ] Potpourri Nature Trail ] Night Scavenger Hunt ] Map Symbol Game ] Inter-Patrol Compass Race ] Finding Wrecked Plane ] Bee-Line Hike Contest ] Four Square Compass Race ] Eagle-Eye Compass Race ] Lunch Site Hunt ] Compass Reading Contest ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
How to Use This Book ] Scout Ways ] Tenderfoot Requirements ] Scout Knots ] 2nd Class Knife Axe Fire ] 2nd Class Wildlife ] Compass Treasure Hunts ] First Class Wood Love ] First Aid Games ] Signaling Games ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.