Teaching coordinate graphing has never been so lively!  Here are ideas to engage all kinds of learners.

# Capture the Penguins Coordinate Graphing Game

Turn coordinate graphing practice into a game!  MathWire.com has several different coordinate graphing games to play but I loved this one!  Students fill the grid with some kind of marker.  Here the markers are penguin figurines but anything small enough would work.  Depending on the skill you want your students to practice, they can put the markers in the blank squares (as shown in the picture) or at each intersection on the grid.  Then each player takes a turn rolling two dice.  They create an ordered pair using the dice and remove the marker at that location.  The player with the most markers at the end of the game is the winner.  Follow the link to download the board and paper markers for free.

# Kinesthetic Coordinate Graphing

I love this kinesthetic idea from Sarah at Math Equals Love.  She made a huge coordinate grid using a shower curtain liner and laid out the lines with duct tape and electrical tape.  Sarah’s blog is about high school math but this idea would be great in elementary school, too!  Kids can stand on the grid or place objects on it.  Imagine how much more memorable it would be to remember “run before you jump”, or travel on the x-axis first, then the y-axis, if you could actually complete that movement with your feet!

# Graphing with a Computer Game

Try a fun and FREE computer game to practice coordinate graphing.  Game Over Gopher is a game I found on BrainPop and I probably enjoyed it a little more than a 31-year-old is supposed to ; )  The idea is that you have to place carrot shooters (and other various devices) on a coordinate grid keep gophers from eating the big carrot.  The first level is easy and shows students exactly where to place the items and it gets more challenging from there.  I love how it walks your students through exactly how to play the game.  By the third level the game goes into using 4 quadrants but you can always have your students stop at level 3 if necessary.

# Graphing on the Wall

Here’s a fun idea from Tabitha and Chloe at Math Workshop Adventures.  They created a huge grid by taping string lines on the wall (hey, cinder blocks are good for something after all!) Then they added pictures of characters, teachers, and sports logos that were familiar to the students.  The students recorded the coordinate pair that described each item’s location.

# Anchor Charts and Practice Pages

Help your students get comfortable with the vocabulary and most basic concepts of coordinate graphing with these two anchor charts.  Click the picture to download them for FREE!

These anchor charts come from a bigger packet of coordinate graphing materials including problem solving with graphing, mystery pictures, and an assessment.

Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.