Grid-O

Grid can be done in a variety of ways depending on the skill level of those participating. Like many other activities, Grid-O can be used effectively for anyone from beginners through elite orienteers depending on how it's implemented. The primary skill developed using Grid-O is map orientation—a fundamental skill necessary to master before leanring more advanced skills—although other skills suck as route-choice and spatial poisitoning are developed as well. During Grid-O exercises, there should be emphasis on always keeping the map oriented in the same direction, regardless of which direction the participant's body is facing.

At Navigation Games, most of our grid exercises use a 3x3 grid. One of our most basic progressions begins by numbering the cones so that the top row are all #1s, the second row are #2s, and the third row are #3s. Students receive a sheet with a series of arrows, and all they must do is walk in the direction that each arrow indicates, adding up the numbers as they go. In order for this to work, it is very important that the students know to hold their sheet of arrows facing the same direction the entire time. Otherwise, the arrows will turn as they do! When they get to the bottom of the list of arrows, they say their total number from adding up the numbered cones, and the instructor checks to see if their total matches the answer key.

The next stage is done in almost entirely the same manner, but the map the students receive shows the 3x3 grid itself, as well as lines connecting the cones they must visit. They go to the cones indicated by the map, adding up their totals, and report back at the end to see if their total matches. Once again, it is important for them to keep their map held facing the same direction the entire time. Otherwise they might not know which cone to go to next.

The final stage uses a much more complicated map, but functions in much the same way as the previous two activities. For this, the map resebmles a point-to-point course, where every control is straight, sideways, or diagonal from their starting point. The distances between checkpoints on the map should vary greatly as well, but checkpoints are always just one cone apart (for example, #5 and 6 on the map might be twice as far apart as #10 and 11, but in both cases the student is still moving just one cone in the indicated direction). Again, it is very important for students to keep their map oriented in the correct direction! If participants are proficient at this level, they should try to do it moving at a faster pace to see if they can plan ahead as they move.