Vacation Home

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SWBAT plot ordered pairs, & label directional units on a coordinate plane & connect them.

Big Idea

Give your ordered pairs to a partner, & see if they can create your dream vacation home for you!

Warm Up

15 minutes

Here in coastal, or nearby coastal, North Carolina, we live about an hour away away from the beach. Most of my students have parents and extended family that have vacation homes. That's not to say that we live in a particularly affluent area; we are a Title 1 school, where a vast majority of our students receive free or reduced priced meals. My understanding is that these vacation homes have been in the family for generations, or a loaned by friends. The most realistic vacation home for us is one at the beach, but some other families have vacation homes in the mountains of North Carolina. So, a vacation home in an area would work here. My students need to know that I know them.

We've previously worked with coordinate planes, when we read the book Holes back in the fall. (I did this lesson in May---just in time to get my students excited about summer break.) We hid/tried to find missing treasure which tied into the book. So here, I remind my students of this fact. At that time, students had difficulty determining which axis to start with, and they needed a lot of guidance.

We play Battleship in pairs (without the board game). Each player has a grid that the other side is not allowed to see. Each square in the grid is identified by a number and a letter. So the square located at column A, row 1 is called A1. The square located at column G, row 14 is called G14, and so on. Each side has a fleet of ships. Each ship is a different size and spans a different number of squares on the grid, so they need to be drawn on/colored. This could also be a homework assignment the night before, and locating the ships could be done as a warm up.

  • 1 Aircraft Carrier (spans 5 squares)
  • 1 Battleship (spans 4 squares)
  • 1 Destroyer (spans 3 squares)
  • 1 Submarine (spans 3 squares)
  • 1 Patrol Boat (spans 2 squares)


Students take turns calling out the names of squares on the grid: A4, G19, F7, etc. If the location called out is empty, your opponent says 'Miss!' If the location called out happens to be occupied by an enemy ship, the opponent says 'Hit!' Students track hits and misses on a piece of paper. The first player to sink/find all of the ships on his/her opponent's paper wins the game. My students loved this, and were very successful with this. They'd never played Battleship before; sometimes I take for granted experiences I had when I was young. Their frames of reference are so different, and I do all I can to expose them to new experiences and new thinking. Someone may think, "Why play Battleship; it's a game!" Battleship actually requires logic and reason in keeping track of the shots taken. Trying to figure out where to shoot next sharpens probability skills. Battleship requires formulating a mental picture of your opponent's set up and to keep that picture in mind, making and remembering adjustments as the game unfolds and new information comes in. And who knows,... maybe I'll inspire some future service members in the Navy; we are about an hour from 3 different military bases. Most certainly, students will not finish the game, and that's not my priority in this lesson. Rather, students needs practice.

As a side note, I have included some resources that might work for you, but they don't use numbers and letter to label the graph, which would be the best. You may want to use white-out, and fix this to aid in student comprehension. You could leave it this way.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

a) Uses MP1 (Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them), and is a Level 1 DOK; here students record ordered pairs and label directional units.

(b) Uses MP6 (Attend to precision), and is a Level 2 DOK; here students explain the meaning of the origin on a coordinate plane.

(c) Uses MP8 (Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning), and is a Level 1 DOK; here students plot and label points of a coordinate plane.

(d) uses MP1 (Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them), and is a Level 1 DOK; here students connect points on a coordinate plane in a specific order.

Paired Practice

15 minutes

In the (a)/(b) section, I'm looking for students to correctly complete the table. I have each student determine the coordinates for their own dream house, and list those in the chart. Then, students switch paper, and the next person determines the directions from the origin, and charts the other student's dream house. In this, the students are builders/architects. I remind students that sometimes the ordered pair is given and not the number of units; the student will need to use the ordered pair to find the number of units. I'm looking for students to explain the origin correctly. Each student should understand that the origin is the point where the x- and y- axes meet.

In this video clip, you'll see two of my students giving a tip about how important it is not to confuse where you start. Again, this is something simple, but something I can to ensure students "got", because they had significant trouble earlier in the year.


10 minutes

In the closure, partners exchange papers to determine if their partner's placement of coordinates are correct. This also encourages students to rely on each other, and collaborate if a mistake is made. A few of my students did make some simple mistakes in placement, and therefore can trouble (literally) connecting the lines, until they were able to collaborate with their partner. Now, I could have assisted, but I didn't because it was more meaningful to help from the "client" who knew what they wanted. I then gave students about 5 minutes to color/decorate their new vacation homes to finish their final project while everyone finished collaborating.