Pirate Island

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To teach Cubs maps and basic grid referencing


Flipchart/ whiteboard and marker


Gather the Cubs around a whiteboard. Ask them the names of any Pirates that they know. Pick the most colourful one.

Blackbeard has buried his treasure on a desert island and wants to remember its location. On a whiteboard, draw map of an island with his ship in a bay, a volcano in the middle and his treasure on the other side, &c. Add in N, S, E, W and discuss cardinal points. Add in paths and features. Explain that Blackbeard can find his treasure by:

- following paths and features on the map
- heading in the right compass direction
- being aware of distance travelled and time taken

When he gets to the rough location of the treasure he needs to be more precise - explain pacing.

Explain that as he sits on his ship as he sails away to more plunder he realises that if he splits the island up into grid squares he can use just a number to identify the location of his treasure! Explain grid references.

Other ideas (not included in timing) : play Bunny Rabbit grid referencing game for chocolate rewards, play run to NSEW around hall,


  • cardinal points
  • compass
  • grid references
  • navigation

Badge Links

  • Navigator - 4-figure reference
  • Navigator - 8 compass points