Students will play a variety of games to help them understand coordinates.
- The Fly on the Ceiling, by Julie Glass; ISBN 0679886079
- Grid and Bear It, by Will C. Howell (Fearon Teacher Aids);
- Grid and Graph It, by Will C. Howell (Fearon Teacher Aids);
Background for Teachers
Identifying points on a coordinate grid is important in understanding
how the coordinate system works and in constructing simple line graphs
to display data or to plot points. These skills can be used to examine
algebraic functions and relationships. The skills developed in this lesson
can be applied to interpreting latitude and longitude in map reading in
social studies and to plotting points to represent data collected during
science experiments. Students can use the coordinate plane when
exploring the ideas related to symmetry, reflection, and spatial sense.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude toward mathematics.
5. Make mathematical connections.
Invitation to Learn
Read The Fly on the Ceiling, by Julie Glass
- Play the game Fly Tic-Tac-Toe.
How to play:
- Points are marked at intersections of a grid. The size of the
grid is 4 x 4 with corners at (0,0), (0,4), (4,4), and (4,0).
- One player plays X, the other plays O
- Players must locate a point by using an ordered pair of
numbers to describe it, (e.g., (2,3)). The first number tells
how far to go across, the second number tells how far to go
up on this grid. The points must be named by their ordered
pair and marked on the Fly Tic-Tac-Toe recording sheet.
- If the player states the wrong coordinates, the turn ends.
- To win, a player must get four coordinate points in an
uninterrupted straight line--horizontally, vertically, or
- Play Swat the Flies.
This game is similar to Battleship. The goal of this game is to
be the first person to "swat" the other person's flies by calling out
the coordinates that locate the "fly families." Each player has five
fly families: one family of two, two families of three, and two
families of four. To win, a player must locate and "swat" all of
- Provide each player with a laminated Swat the Flies gameboard, which contains two 10 x 10 grids. Have
them draw their fly families on the left grid using a water
based Vis-à-Vis® marker. They can be drawn vertically or
horizontally. The right grid is used to mark the locations the
player calls out to his/her opponent. This recording helps to
prevent calling out the same location twice during a game.
- Players can roll a die or flip a coin to determine who goes
- On a turn, a player calls out the location of a point,
(e.g. (3,2)). The student marks the point on his/her right grid,
as the opponent calls out "hit" if the point is located at one of
his/her fly families. The opponent will also mark a "hit" on
his/her grid so s/he will know when all members of the fly
family have been hit. When a player has hit all flies in a fly
family, the opponent calls out "swatted" to signal all flies in a
family have been hit.
- Play proceeds until one of the players has "swatted" all his/her
opponent's fly families. The first player to do so wins the
- Use a board that includes all four quadrants, so that some of the
points will include negative numbers.
- Plot coordinate points, then connect the points to make a mystery
picture. Grid and Bear It is an excellent choice for this type of
- Have students create a picture on a grid, going through coordinate
points. List the points that need to be plotted to complete the
mystery picture on a separate sheet of paper. Have a partner try
to recreate the mystery picture following the coordinates given.
- Have students play Fly Tic-Tac-Toe with a family member.
- Have students play Swat the Flies with a family member at home.
- Have students create a picture on a grid and have a family
member try to recreate the picture following the coordinates
- While students are playing each game, the teacher may walk
around and observe the students' understanding of coordinates.
Are they identifying the coordinate using the correct ordered
- The coordinate pictures created by each student can also help to