Eight Great Ways to Learn the Coordinate Plane

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 18, 2017  in: coordinate grid, dance, Engagement, Uncategorized

When kids live the coordinate plane they actually remember it.  Try these eight great ways to get kids to understand and remember the coordinate plane.


Arrange the classroom on the coordinate grid.  Attach tape to the floor and arrange the desks with “addresses” that represent the plane.  As students come in, they pick up an address card and find their desk for the day.  The best part is that the kids help each other and make sure each person is sitting in the right place.

Tape the axes onto the floor.

Tape the axes onto the floor


2.  DANCE:

Kinesthetic movement is often over-looked as a way to practice and reinforce learning.  Dancing on the coordinate plane is the perfect way to make this learning engaging and… fun.  A colleague created this dance video for the coordinate grid in the style of DDR.  Students create the mats of the grid and away we go.  Play some great music, and watch your students use their whole body to learn the coordinate plane.


Students create the mats for Dancing with the ordered pairs. Who says math can’t be fun?



3.  PLAY:

Engaging students in a game format brings learning to a new place.  The online version of the Set Game  brings a game with immediate feedback to practice the coordinate plane.  But first, you must name each card in the game as a coordinate pair, such as (1,3) or (2,1).  Once students know their locations, play the game as a class with a “listener” and another person telling them the coordinate pairs.  Now kids are practicing the Set Game (a fabulous game of attributes) and the coordinate grid.  Jackpot!

This is the online version of the SET GAME

This is the online version of the SET GAME

4.  PLAY:

Our text book has a version of the Battle Ship game where students place “fish” on a coordinate grid and then play with a partner to guess where the partner’s “fish” are placed.  This is another way to reinforce the coordinate plane.  It does not provide immediate feedback like the SET GAME, but playing with a partner does guarantee discussion.


Variations of the BattleShip Game use ordered pairs to identify objects on a the coordinate grid.


Traditional worksheets where students identify points on a plane reinforce students’ understanding of the coordinate plane.  The important thing is to give feedback quickly on these types of practice sheets so that students know if they are correct in their understanding.

6.  SOLVE:

Kids love these activities that resemble a “connect the dots” drawing.  Students identify the points by finding the ordered pairs on the coordinate plane and connect the points to create a picture.  I’ve found examples of these on Teachers Pay Teachers and in various workbooks.


Follow the directions to draw the logo.


After kids follow the directions to make drawings like the Superman Logo, they create the directions for drawing a picture.  This kind of work shows that they truly understand the 4 quadrants.  Then, they get even more practice as they trade projects with classmates.

8.  READ IT:

Explaining anything in story form makes it more concrete and understandable to students.  Using kids’ books such as The Fly on the Ceiling helps kids see other uses for the coordinate plane.


Short stories show ways to use the coordinate plane.

Eight Great ways to learn the coordinate plane may seem like about six ways too many, but using many different modalities gives every student an opportunity for true learning.  Choose the learning styles that will benefit your students the most.


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