This is a great activity to get ALL of your students learning about and using coordinate grids. My students had a blast doing this activity. It’s especially great for students who are tactile/kinesthetic learners. Click here to read our previous blog post about how to create a coordinate grid with your class.
Coordinate Grid (on the floor)
Index cards, labeled with a variety of ordered pairs
Individual coordinate grid
Ask your students to arrange their chairs in a semi-circle so they can all see the coordinate grid. Beginning on the (0,0), demonstrate for students how the coordinate grid works. Show students an index card with an ordered pair on it. Physically “walk” the coordinate grid, facing forward (north) and entire time. After one or two samples, have you students choose an index card one at a time so that they can demonstrate how to “walk the grid.” Once they have reached the correct location, they will put their card down on the grid.
It is important that students face forward while completing these demonstrations, as it will most closely resemble the way they will plot numbers on a real coordinate grid. While kids are taking turns walking the grid, you can point out the 4 quadrants and ask students what they notice about the types of numbers in each quadrant. My students quickly recognized that all of the numbers in quadrant 1 were positive/positive, and the numbers in quadrant 2 were negative/positive, etc.
After all students had a chance to walk the grid a few times, have them return to their seats. Make sure you have removed the number cards from the coordinate grid. On a document camera, display a blank coordinate grid. Give each student a copy of the grid and a pencil. Shuffle the cards and one by one, display a card on the document camera. As you display each card, ask students to write the ordered pair in the appropriate place on their grid.
It’s a good idea to have students check their work with a partner so that you can keep the momentum of the lesson going. You may want to circulate around the room to check student work and make sure that each student is using parentheses appropriately.
We had a few extra minutes at the end of the class, so I had students put random symbols (a happy face, a heart) on a point
of their choosing, and then write the ordered pair with the symbol on the side of their papers. They loved this and asked to make up their own symbols for the last one.