Learn compass directions with a game

  1. Label the sides of one die to read: N, S, E, W, NO (for no move), FREE (for a free turn). Label the six sides of the second die as follows: 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 to represent the number of spaces the player may move.
  2. Cover the game board with clear contact paper for durability. You may even ask older students to record their route in grease pencil.
  3. Explain to students that the object of the game is to move one's marker from one side of the board to the other, as from north to south or from east to west, etc.
  4. Each student rolls a direction die to determine where he/she will place the marker to begin.
  5. On each student's second turn, roll both dice. Continue in sequence until a player reaches the opposite edge of the board. The first person to make it across the game board wins.
  6. To add some challenge, you may put an island or two in the middle of the game board. Students must either navigate around this "No Man's Land" or "die" (drop out of the game)!

From The Navigator, March/April, 1994, newsletter of the Maine Math & Science Alliance


  • graph paper divided into squares, with its edges marked as north, south, east, and west (enough game boards for 2 children per board)
  • 2 dice per game board (purchased and adapted or made from small wooden cubes)
  • markers (small coins, shells, buttons, etc.)
  • clear contact paper (grease pencil)