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Grade 6 through Grade 8 (Middle School)
Overview and Purpose:
The students will use graph paper to plot points on a graph. When the points are connected they will make a familiar shape, number, or letter. They will practice reading co-ordinates to each other, as well as, practice plotting them. The activity is meant to be fun and light, not competitive or stressful.
The student will be able to
*name points on a graph
*plot points on a graph
Four pieces of graph paper per student
Two graphs copied on transparencies
Have the students draw their graphs using as many quadrants as you are studying. Have them place at least 10 ticks on each axis (more if you are using three or four quadrants). Have them label the x-axis ticks with numbers and the y-axis ticks with letters.
Let students practice plotting the co-ordinates that you call out. Use co-ordinates that will make a shape, letter, or number when they are connected. After the students have had an opportunity to plot a co-ordinate, mark it on the overhead transparency so they can check their work. When all the co-ordinates have been plotted, show the students how to connect the dots to make the picture.
Repeat the exercise, but leave the overhead light off so the students cannot check their work. Turn the light on when the picture is complete so they can see how accurate their plotting was.
Give the students time to plot their own co-ordinates on one of the remaining graphs. Remind them that when they are finished the connected lines should make a familiar shape, letter, or number.
When the students have finished, pair them up and have them sit back to back. Explain that one of them should read their co-ordinates and the other student should plot them on a graph. When all the points have been plotted the student should try to guess what the picture is. They should then switch roles.
After the exercise, come back together as a group and discuss common mistakes, answer questions, and look at the pictures each group drew.
This exercise might prove to be difficult for some students. Remind the class to be patient and to repeat co-ordinates if necessary. The idea of the exercise is to have fun and practice, not try to stump each other.