Ideas for Graphing on the Coordinate Grid and Rene Descarte-- {Mid-Week Math Motivation}

We've been working hard on graphing integers and rationale numbers on the coordinate grid.  I always find this part of the unit to be so much fun.  There are tons of great ideas out there for students to practice graphing and reading ordered pairs.  I wanted to share a few with you today including a way that I incorporate a little history into my math lessons.

I love to begin with this video:  Basic Coordinate Plane-- A Space Odyssey.  It's about 1 minute 20 seconds, and just reviews basic vocabulary, but there is just something about the Space Odyssey music that makes it inspiring.  My students sit up a little straighter, they are ready to become ACTIVE LEARNERS when they hear this type of music.

Here is just the link if you need to copy and paste:
I start out with some vocabulary basics of the pieces of the coordinate system.  We make a finger foldable for our interactive notebooks, and then a four door foldable for the quadrants.  As always, I want them thinking right away about using vocabulary correctly as we practice.

Do you ever teach your students history in your math lessons?  I try as much as possible to incorporate a cross curriculum approach to learning, so when I can incorporate reading, writing or social studies into math I do it!  During our unit on Coordinate Graphing I teach my students about Renee Descartes.. I THINK.. THEREFORE I AM....  He was a french philosopher who is credited for first quoting the above statement.  He is ALSO a mathematician who created the Cartesian graphing system.. all because of a fly on his ceiling! History says that Descartes was a sickly child, and spent hours laying in bed staring at the ceiling.  Because his mind was always thinking, he wanted to develop a system that would map the movements of the fly, thus the idea of a coordinate grid became reality.  I like to show my students a picture of Descartes and share the story.

You can also read this easy reader with them (link will send you to Amazon)

One great way I've found to practice coordinate grid associations is with Coordinate Grid puzzle pieces and squares.  I know there are a TON of graphing pictures products out there.  They are great, but sometimes I need something that is quick and easy.  The puzzle pieces or squares give me a variety of tools that I can use to reinforce concepts or formatively assess FAST.  I give each student a puzzle piece section.  There are four individual pieces that make a puzzle.  One shows the answer on the coordinate grid, a second section shows the ordered pair, the third a word problem that corresponds with the plotted point, and the fourth contains the correct quadrant.  Student must find each other and complete the puzzle in the room.  They love this type of activity, it gets them up and moving, and gives me a chance to listen to conversations and complete some error analysis with the groups.

I also use this activity printed just as squares... it's easier on me to not have to cut our all the puzzle pieces!!  Students can play this during my math workshop time with a partner, or  I can pull a group to my table.  Students place four corresponding cards together to complete the puzzle.

Sometimes I give them laminated cards that do not have the point plotted, and students will plot the ordered pair on the coordinate plane.  It gives me the ability to differentiate based on what a particular group needs at the time.

You can print the squares multiple to a page and have students cut out one four-squared grid.  Have them mix them up with three other partners and each put a square back together.  We glue these into our interactive notebooks as further examples and practice for graphing and recognizing points.
You can check these puzzle grids out {HERE} if you are interested.

How do you teach the Coordinate Grid in your classroom?  I would love to hear additional ideas!
Thanks for stopping by for a little Mid-Week Math Motivation!

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