School Projects: How to Make a Compass Rose

Written by erin maurer
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School Projects: How to Make a Compass Rose
The compass rose identifies the cardinal points. (Black compass rose image by Makhnach from

Help children learn about directions and how to navigate a map by having them draw a compass rose. Drawing compass roses also helps student develop an understanding of geometry and the relationship between angles. Making a compass rose will also allow students to practice using a protractor and a ruler. Enhance the lesson by arranging for students to use their completed compass roses to navigate through a scavenger hunt.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Drawing compass or circular protractor
  • Ruler
  • Coloured pencils or markers
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Draw a circle on a piece of paper using a drawing compass. For young children, consider having them trace a circular protractor to create their compass rose's centre circle.

  2. 2

    Measure the horizontal and vertical diameters of the circle to find the centre and draw a dot at the centre point. Trace the diameter lines and extend them about ½ inch on each side.

  3. 3

    Use the protractor to bisect the North, South, East and West angles evenly. Use the ruler to trace straight lines, making an X over the horizontal and vertical lines you drew in the previous step..

  4. 4

    Draw arrow shapes around the original diameter lines to form the North, South, East and West directions of the compass rose. Use the centre lines you already drew and draw triangle shapes around them to create long, skinny arrows. Label the top arrow N; move clockwise and label the right-hand arrow E; label the bottom arrow S; label the left-hand arrow W.

  5. 5

    Draw arrows around the smaller lines you drew in step three. Begin labelling with the arrow between the N and E arrow, label this arrow NE. Moving clock wise label the arrow between the E and the S as SE. The arrow between the S and the W should be labelled SW and the arrow between the W and the N should be NW.

  6. 6

    Colour or decorate the completed compass rose using coloured pencils or markers.

Tips and warnings

  • Hide items around the playground or classroom. Print out clues and directions on how to find the items and pass them out to the students. Use the compass rose to navigate through the scavenger hunt as a method for helping students learn how to use their completed compass rose.

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