By Keegan Harkavy
Most Fridays from 3:00 to 5:00 I help teach a group of of kids grades 2-5. This week we did one of my favorite activities in all of orienteering: a maze-o. All a maze-o is, is doing orienteering in a maze. This may not seem that fun but in reality the sharp turns and the quick navigation is a blast. Also it helps teach a lot of important orienteering skills. For example, it teaches you to always have your map oriented, because it’s impossible to do anything in the maze with an unoriented map. It also teaches agility with the corridors being so short and narrow, and because it’s a race you have to be agile to win. Finally, it teaches fast-pace route choice. There are many ways to get to each control in the maze, but some take much longer, so being able to quickly find the fastest path is very important.
The class started out with the kids playing tag in the maze, as Ethan (the other teacher) and I tried desperately to finish it. Once we finished, we joined in the game as well. The goal of this was to get the kids excited, warm (it was freezing out), to learn the maze, and of course have fun. This worked to a tee, with the kids exhausted but in a good mood. After that we ran a actual courses in the maze.
This did not work nearly as well as the previous activity. The kids had a hard time finding the controls and using their maps. For the most part they were just running around and hoping to get the right control. After we had helped the kids, however, they did start to get it and did less guessing. Unfortunately it was really cold and the kids were getting tired and cold, so we had to go back to playing tag to keep their energy up. Finally the kids headed back inside.
All in all the day was a success, and I think the kids had a great time and learned a lot. The only downside to this activity is it took two of us almost an hour an half to set up the maze with another half hour clean up.
How we set up the maze:
The first thing we did was take a 10 by 10 grid (could be bigger or smaller) and made a maze where a wall went from one dot to another
Then we set this up using stakes on the grid and streamers as the walls