Simulation: Direction March

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Social Studies

Grade 3- 5


Students will move toward a designated cardinal or intermediate direction as instructed by a game card.


Copy, cut, and shuffle direction cards. Make a transparency of the game board or draw it on the chalkboard. Obtain game markers.

  1. Students may play the game as individuals or as teams, depending upon teacher preference.
  2. Place the game board transparency on the overhead so that it is readily visible to all students.
  3. For each team or individual playing, place a game marker on one of the four lines touching the START point.
  4. The teacher (or other designated direction caller) turns over one direction card for each player or team and announces the move, for example, 3 Spaces West.
  5. Using the overhead transparency, the individual or designated team member must then move his or her marker the appropriate direction and distance along the interconnecting lines and points--vertically (N-S), horizontally (E-W), or diagonally (NE-SW, NW-SE).
  6. Once the player releases the marker, his or her turn is over and the caller proceeds to the next team.
  7. Players cannot exit the board on moves that would pass through the arrow points.
  8. The game may be played so that either the first team (player) or the last team (player) to exit the board is the winner. With respect to incorrect responses, if the goal is to exit first, incorrect moves dictate that the marker be returned to START. However, if the object is to be the last to leave the board, incorrect answers will cause that marker to be placed on a point at the edge of the board (not on an arrow point).
Direction March is primarily designed for students with little experience in map reading skills and are having difficulty mastering the intermediate directions. Depending upon the experience of the students involved, the instructor may want to include a simple compass rose with an indicator for North. Space for a compass rose is provided at the top of the game board.
You may also want to connect a review session to this game by linking moves on the game board with correct responses to questions from the current social studies text lesson.


  • overhead projector
  • overhead transparency of page 14 (see the link below)
  • several small game markers such as buttons to use on the overhead
  • pages 12-13, reproduced on heavy stock paper (see the link below)

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