• direction
    The North Star (Polaris) is the last star on the handle of the constellation of the Little Dipper.

    Lost?
    A simple compass can be made by floating a magnetized needle on a leaf in a dish of water. You can magnetize a needle by rubbing it with silk or a magnet.

    Direction is used to determine where things are in relation to other things. Sometimes direction is vague, like when we talk about things being in that general direction. For geographic purposes, direction is more specific.

    It can describe position, like in the sentence Susie sits to the left of Adam. Susies direction is to the left of Adam; Adams direction is to the right of Susie. Direction can also describe movement: Susie can walk forward or backward, and she can turn left or right when walking to school.

    Cardinal directions are probably the most important directions in geography: north, south, east and west. These directions help us orient ourselves wherever we are. For example, in the United States, San Francisco, California, is west of New York City, New York. If we live in New York, we have to travel west to get to California.

    You can use a magnetic compass, which uses the Earths magnetic field, to figure out where you are or in which direction you want to go. Compasses always point north. If you dont have a compass, you can use the sun or the stars. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So in the morning, the sun will be in the east; in the afternoon, it will be in the west. At night, the North Star in the Northern Hemisphere points north. The Southern Cross, which is a constellation, or group of stars, marks south in the Southern Hemisphere.

    The arrow is a universal symbol for direction. If someone needs to turn right at a stop sign to get to the freeway, there will usually be an arrow pointing the way.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cardinal direction Noun

    one of the four main points of a compass: north, east, south, west.

    compass Noun

    instrument used to tell direction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: compass
    constellation Noun

    group of stars that form a recognizable shape.

    direction Noun

    the way in which somebody or something goes, points, or faces.

    Encyclopedic Entry: direction
    east Noun

    direction in which the sun appears to rise, to the right of north.

    freeway Noun

    large public road for which there is no fee, or toll, required.

    geographic perspective Noun

    a way to understand a topic or area using spatial features and relationships.

    magnetic field Noun

    area around and affected by a magnet or charged particle.

    north Noun

    direction to the left of a person facing the rising sun and the leading direction on a compass.

    Northern Hemisphere Noun

    half of the Earth between the North Pole and the Equator.

    North Star Noun

    the star Polaris, located roughly above the North Pole. Also called the Lodestar or Pole Star.

    orient Verb

    to position or find the location of something.

    relate Verb

    to interact with or respond to.

    south Noun

    direction to the right of a person facing the rising sun.

    Southern Cross Noun

    constellation visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Southern Hemisphere Noun

    half of the Earth between the South Pole and the Equator.

    star Noun

    large ball of gas and plasma that radiates energy through nuclear fusion, such as the sun.

    sun Noun

    star at the center of our solar system.

    symbol Noun

    something used to represent something else.

    west Noun

    direction in which the sun appears to set.