DIY Compass Rose Template - Free to Print | Student Handouts
Welcome to! We hope that you enjoy our thousands of free educational materials for kindergarten through high school. If you have any questions or suggestions, send us a message at

DIY Compass Rose
DIY Compass Road for Primary Grades Social Studies/GeographyThis free printable sheet allows each student to create his/her own compass rose, and even fits in some handwriting and spelling practice.

First, the teacher describes that a compass rose indicates the cardinal directions--north, south, east, and west. The students read aloud each word, trace it, then write it. The students then cut apart the four arrows and circle. The circle serves as the center of the compass rose, to which the students attach each arrow. Once assembled, the student writes the names of the cardinal directions on each arrow.

The student's "portable" compass rose can be placed on maps. A fun classroom and at-home activity can be to place the compass on the floor, oriented correctly (N/S/E/W) using a magnetic compass (for older kids) or simply using the teacher's instructions. Provided the compass roses are sturdy enough (by using card stock or lamination), students stand on their compass roses and follow the teacher's instructions to "face west," etc.

As an extension, these portable compass roses can be used outside of the school building in much the same way, but to teach relative location. Examples: "Is the school west or east of the parking lot?" "Does First Avenue run north-south or east-west?" "The country of Canada is north of the United States. Which way would we start walking if we were walking to Canada?" "The Acme Shopping Center is east of this school. Which direction would we start walking to get there?"

Kids love using these! They're a great way to get kids interested in geography. Warning: Lots of students will want to carry these everywhere! Click here to print.

Once kids have mastered the basic directions, you can add northwest, northeast, etc., by adding four more arrows to each compass rose. Here is a free template that fits in a dozen arrows (enough for three compass roses) on a single sheet to save on paper costs.

Want something even sturdier? Another option is to have students glue their arrows onto another sheet of paper. If you have the kids use poster board or large construction paper, then laminate each jumbo-sized compass rose, you can have the kids use them as their floor seats during reading time, etc. Each day, the kids will have to orient themselves and their seats north-south-east-west to face the teacher, thereby reinforcing the learning on a daily basis.

One more thing! Are you introducing your students to ASL (American Sign Language)? Then click to print our cardinal directions in the ASL manual alphabet. This is a great opportunity to reinforce A-B-C spelling while helping young students to learn ASL fingerspelling. It's also a terrific opportunity to include the specialized learning of hearing-impaired students into general classroom instruction. You might also want to get our printable ASL Finger Alphabet Handout.
If you enjoyed this activity, you'll probably also like our: DIY Neighborhood Map Puzzle Tutorial