The Coordinate Plane: Graphing Day 1

This is a very exciting time for me, as the majority of my 6th graders are not intimately familiar with all of the wonders of graphing!  I can’t wait to introduce them to this world of mathematical modeling, especially since it will be all new for them!  I especially can’t wait for them to see all of the data that we have collected taking shape and making sense.  I plan on posting a series of blogs for most of the lesson in this unit.

We have been working closely with data all year through the use of Google Spreadsheets.  We have mostly analyzed the data they have collected through pie charts and bar graphs.  But finally, it is time to take it to the next level – linear functions and predictions!

The first day I taught them all about Coordinate Plane.  I assumed that most of my students knew this as it is on the 5th grade NC EOG tests.  However, I wanted to review the terminology and clear up any graphing confusion.  (Over Christmas I gave them a fun “plot the Christmas tree” sheet one day and heard a lot of, “is it in the elevator and then up the elevator?  or up the elevator and out of the elevator?”)  There is nothing I love less in the teaching of mathematics than ineffective analogies.

I gave them rulers, colored pencils and graph paper.  They drew the y-axis in yellow and the x-axis in blue.  They numbered the axes in colored pencil (red pencil for negative numbers).  We talked about what the word origin meant.  We then added a big dot for the origin and also added the quadrant names.  I had them stand up and do the YMCA to remember that the Y-axis was vertical.  We discussed the fact that x comes first in the alphabet so the x-coordinate gets to go first when graphing.  A Twitter colleague  Dan mentioned that the x-axis comes first because it is the original number line.  Then, you go up or down the new line, the y-axis.  I love that and will definitely use it in the very near future (tomorrow).  I like for my students to think logically when trying to assimilate mathematic information.  No elevators for us!

We plotted a few points together and then moved onto Battlegraph!  I found a great game complete with Powerpoint presentation online that I used. I did the Racetrack graphing game with 7th grade, but the 6th grade really seemed to enjoy Battlegraph!  I played music while they played and some groups really got into sinking each other ships!  It was a very fun day of teaching.

Up Next…Functions!

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