A Short Lesson in Graphing Ordered Pairs

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SWBAT graph ordered pairs correctly.

Big Idea

Students practice graphing ordered pairs on IXL math and on a worksheet to create a picture.

Math Fact Mastery : Differentiation through iPad

10 minutes

Students worked on timed tests using the Timed Test ap on their iPads. They had to do at least 4 tests and show growth after each test. Their goal was to beat the 18 point record set by one of our students. They looked at their records and compared their growth from one month ago. I roved around the room and talked with each student to assess progress. If they achieved no growth, it needed to be reported to me. This helped them be accountable and acknowledge that they need more work to master fluency and show growth. I looked at each student's progress and decided that I may have to set the time or the range differently to either challenge or support them. It is essential that growth is happening as we practice. Adjusting time or amount of problems to fit their needs is often the push they need over a hump. I like this a lot because I can individually adjust it so that students can progress at their own rate. It is a repeated daily routine in my class throughout the year. Sometimes I do this just before reading or during a transition between writing and science.

A Fly on the Ceiling

10 minutes

Coordinate grids help students see patterns through a repeated process. This lesson helps them prepare for 5th grade ( 5.OA.B.3) where they have to create a repeated pattern and plot them on the coordinate plane. This is a simple lesson on how to plot ordered pairs. It satisfies 4.OA.C.5 in fourth grade because we are generating a number pattern that follows a given rule. The rule is that we go over x amount and rise up y amount. It is my hope that students can grasp this simple pattern and repeat it to accurately graph it on a grid system.

I opened up this lesson by reading A Fly on the Ceiling by Julie Glass. This cute little story is about Rene DeCartes and how he organizes his house using a grid on the ceiling. The kids love this book and it is a great way to introduce coordinate grids. The illustrations are great. We laughed a lot.

After we read, we talked a little about our Map Skills lessons that involved using the grid system to locate a few cities in the North Central region. I liked how they could connect their math to their Social Studies. We talked about how we used latitude, or went across first before we looked at the longitude, going up and down.

The Core Lesson

10 minutes

After we read Fly on the Ceiling, I told my students that we were going to practice graphing ordered pairs on IXL math. First we needed to review the over and up concept of graphing.


I drew a simple grid on the white board and listed an ordered pair of (3,5) and plotted the point on the grid. I asked my students to explain if they thought I plotted the ordered pair correctly from what we understood about the rules of how to do it.

They all agreed it was correct. I asked them why the order was important. None of my students could answer that question. CCSS expects that I delve into the "why" of math as well as how.

So, it was important to attack this question and help them understand. I explained that like the rules of orders of operations, this plotting rule also gave mathematicians a consistent way of plotting. I then turned to the board and plotted (3,5) as (5,3) so they could realize that if we didn't plot it the same way, we would get a different location on the grid. I asked: How would this affect map reading as far as locating a place exactly?

Two people's hands shot up. I got the answer I was looking for. One boy said " If you didn't have the same rule, a location could be more than one place on a map."

In order to clarify what he said, I reworded what he meant. I said: " In order to be accurate and clear about a location, we must follow the same rules when mapping a location using a grid or coordinate plane."

I told them that it was time to practice awhile on IXL.com to sharpen our skills. I logged onto IXL to show them exactly what I expected. This lesson presents a picture of the coordinate grids and then the student chooses the correct ordered pair that represents the picture.After we did two together, I asked them to get out their iPads and log on.

They logged onto IXL and worked for about 15 minutes to review plotting and reading coordinate grids. I roved the classroom to see that students were working. One student had to use graph paper to answer the question.


10 minutes

Technology is a wonderful tool to help in mastery of CCSS. I also believe that hands on tactile work is enjoyed and needed to give students a different learning experience. This worksheet is just plain fun! Kitty Ordered Pairs Worksheet. It hones their plotting skills while producing a picture of a cat. When they get done, they can color their cat.

I assigned it with the intention that they would simply work for a few minutes to get going and then take it home to finish.

They didn't want to stop. So, I let many of them finish. We worked about 20 minutes. One student who rushed through to get done fast, learned a lesson in accuracy.A Cute Kitty I had to ask this student to fix his errors in connecting his lines. The points were accurate. He had trouble connecting the plotted points in order. This made the drawing disjointed.

Another example, Midnight the Cat shows success in accurately plotting the ordered pairs. It is a good idea to join the plotted points with lines in the order they occur. It makes it easier to create the drawing.

This is a fun worksheet and I am not sure where it came from. It doesn't have any copywrite or publishing on it. I would have liked to have given credit to the clever person who created it!


5 minutes

To close the lesson, I wanted to review the process of plotting ordered pairs so that students taking their worksheet home would not struggle. I wanted to clarify the "over and up" idea. I had mentioned to students at some point in my instruction that we "crawl before we walk," and that is a good way to remember the order. What I said turned up in this little video clip of our closure. Crawl Before You Walk.