TESiboard Position, Direction and Movement (KS1)

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Try the activities in this collection, below

Position, Direction and Movement, a TESiboard Shape and Space Collection

‘Position’ in the KS1 curriculum is initially about position of things in relation to other things, so, “above”, “behind”, “in between”, “next to”, and so on. These ideas quickly develop into concepts of direction and movement, often in the context of giving instructions to get from one place to another. Some activities will be in real world contexts, such as a route or journey; others will have more precise control and simulation contexts where detailed ‘programmable’ instructions will guide an on-screen object or a control toy such as a Roamer or Beebot. For this reason, this area of the curriculum can easily be covered in a cross curricular manner, linked to Geography, ICT or even Literacy.

Early Position activities

These activities are most suitable for Reception children. They take ‘relative position’ as their focus and encourage pupils to understand and practise positional language.

Woodland Disco

  • The three woodland creatures must be placed into the positions requested before they can start their disco! Full sound support is given for the instructions.

Naming Positions - The Picnic

  • Practise positional language by choosing the word that best describes the position of a creature.

Position Them - The Picnic

  • Pupils act on positional instructions, by moving the creature into the position requested in the sentence at the top.

Naming Positions - The Tree

  • Practise positional language by choosing the word that best describes the position of a creature.

Position Them - The Tree

  • Pupils act on positional instructions, by moving the creature into the position requested in the sentence at the top.

A large number of TESiboard activities cover a range of direction and movement skills. They break down into 3 main stages of progression:

1.Early Movement Activities

Activities in the first set below all ignore the concept of ‘turns’. They are therefore quite different to Roamer and Beebots which turn and then move forward or back. It is worth making this distinction explicit with pupils. An easy metaphor is the difference between a crab and a shark. A shark turns to go in a different direction whereas a crab can scuttle from side to side. So, these activities allow the children to move up and down and around the screen using arrows for directions, without having to explicitly turn the object.

Dance Moves

  • Pupils use the directional arrows to move the bear according to the instructions given. How many dance moves can they complete in a minute?

Drawing using directional arrows

  • An interactive drawing tool using directional arrows to control the virtual pen.

Cheese Sniffer

  • A game to support directional and ICT skills. Play it in pairs or as a group game.

Pollen Hunter

  • Pupils use the directional arrows to move the bee around the field collecting pollen, making sure the seagull doesn’t catch them!

Lily Hop

  • Pupils create and adapt their own mazes - ask them to challenge a partner to complete one they’ve devised. Use turns and forward/backward moves to help the frog catch dragonflies.

Fly Catcher

  • Pupils catch as many flies as they can in the time given, by moving the spider around using the directional arrows (including diagonals).

Compass Points and Grid References

  • Pupils use compass points and directional arrows to move the boat around the grid. An opportunity to introduce simple grid references.

Treasure Hunt

  • Follow the short directional instructions (using up, down, left, right) to find the treasure.

2.Turning and Movement Activities

The following activities introduce turning but keep the controls on (and orientated with) the actual object. Some of these are gamey but one activity (Drawing with a control Toy) takes a more creative lead allowing the children to make patterns and shapes.

Drawing with a Control Toy

  • Pupils make patterns and pictures out of lines and turns, by choosing direction and colour.

Controlling Round A Route

  • A control activity to model directions and give instructions. Ask pupils to guide the rocket, snail or shark to various places on the grid. Introduces simple grid references.

Space Hunt

  • See if pairs of pupils can follow each other’s instructions to collect discarded fuel canisters and avoid the meteors.

3.Control Activities

The final set of activities moves more towards precise, programmed sets of instructions. The control panels are separated from the object and therefore the child has to consider orientation, as left and right reverse themselves when an object is coming down the screen upside down. Some children find this a challenge and may find it easier to bend their head round so that they are almost looking at the screen upside down. More able pupils can extend their thinking by pre-programming sets of instructions before pressing “go”.


  • Pupils input instructions to help the chameleon catch flies, using direction and distance. The ‘angle help’ is a valuable scaffolding tool to help pupils think about specifying a turn as a precise angle.

Mole Maze

  • Guide the mole through the maze, using angles and distance. Instructions can be carried out either one step at a time or as a programmed sequence of moves.

Spider Web

  • Pupils give instructions to help the spider catch all the flies, by moving the spider in the right direction and judging the correct distance.

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