Living on the Coordinate Plane

By: Mary Kienstra on: January 27, 2015  in: coordinate grid, ordered pairs

Do your students learn the coordinate plane for the assessment and then forget it after that?  This is one of those topics in math that does not connect to most other units.  It typically stands alone.  When your students are living on the coordinate plane, they learn it and actually remember it!

Tape the axes onto the floor.

Tape the axes onto the floor.

The first thing I did was to rearrange the desks in my classroom into four quadrants.   I placed duct tape on the floor to represent the axes as a concrete visual aid.  As students entered the room, I asked showed them the point (0,0) in the center of the room and showed them the desk that I labeled (1,1).  From there, they each found the “address” for their own desks.   Students discussed the quadrants and the arrangement as they found their addresses.  They were excited to find who was living in (+,+) ,  (-,-),  (+, -),  and (-,+)

DDR ordered pairs

A desk address

The next step in living on the coordinate plane is the next day.  As students enter the room, they receive a post-it note with a desk address.  That is their new desk in the class.  This is an engaging way to practice finding the points on the plane.

Another way to live on the coordinate plane is Dancing to the Ordered Pairs as first described in this post.  The students created their DDR mats during class and then danced!  A former colleague created an animated Power Point presentation that shows an ordered pair and the students move to that quadrant on their dancing mat.  Add some dance music and it’s fabulous!  Watch this DDR movie to see the dance in action.

Students learn and understand concepts that they experience.  Living on the coordinate plane is a way for students to experience this concept and internalize their learning.  Give it a try!  What experiences do you provide for your students?  How do you bring learning to life?

Thanks to my friend and colleague, JD for taking learning outside the box!


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