North, South, East, and West
Grade Level: 3

Objective By the end of the lesson, children should understand the difference between left and right and north, south, east, west. They should understand that left and right are based on the human body and that the four directions of north, south, east, and west are based on the sun and the earth. More advanced students can learn northwest, southwest, etc. This lesson can be integrated with science.

Teaching method and activities

1. Introduce the words NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, and WEST while pointing in the correct direction. Relate them to the sun by explaining that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
2. These directions do not change when a person changes locations. Show the class that the words have nothing to do with the way we face -- that NORTH is always in the same direction for everyone.
3. Draw a compass on the ground -- NOT ON THE BOARD!! It should look like this:
4. With an older class, draw in Northwest, Southwest, etc., like this .
5. Take the class around the village or down the street and then ask them again to determine the directions, using the sun as a guide

6. If you have a compass, let each child see it, hold it, and look for North.

Time 30-40 minutes

Materials You do not need any specific materials for this lesson. The lesson will be enhanced if you can find a compass and show the class how to use it.

Notes: The lesson will be enhanced if you can find a compass and show the class how to use it. You should prepare carefully for this lesson.

Direction and distances




The Lesson The lesson consists of telling children to move around this grid using only a DIRECTION and a DISTANCE. You start by saying to one boy: Start at X. Go 2 squares north then three square East. Where are you? Then ask a girl: How do I get from Q to T? After some time allow the pupils to start giving the directions.

Remember! When you have a map on a board the directions are not true directions. Even so you must use the direction words: We see on the map that Tanzania is NORTH of Zambia.NEVER say that Tanzania is above Zambia!

Source: The Spark handbook: A guide in Zambia's community schools. Zambia: UNICEF


  • The students should understand the importance of knowing their directions, incorporate navigation and historical situations if possible.
  • Students may be asked to draw a map of the classroom, their homes, or the school by incorporating the directions.
  • The teacher may post directional signs in the classroom to reinforce the concepts, for example if the classroom chalkboard faces north, a "NORTH" sign will be placed above the chalkboard and the other directional signs will be placed accordingly.