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Grade 4
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When Students Ask

Coordinate Graphing

  • Why should I bother learning this?
    Encourage students to find examples of graphs that show trends in magazines or newspapers. Explain that the graphing skills they're learning now will help them later when they learn to interpret more complicated equations and graphs. You might also point out that it's easier for many people to see the relationships between numbers when they're shown in a picture.
  • Isn't this just the same as a line graph?
    Provide some sample line graphs along with the coordinate graphs your students are working on. Point out that a line graph does use some of the same ideas as a coordinate graph, such as showing the relationship between two different sets of numbers with points connected by lines. Point out that there are some differences though; for example, line graphs show change over time, while coordinate graphs show the relationship between two numbers without saying anything about the meaning of the numbers.
  • Why can't I put the numbers in either order?
    Ordered pairs can be very confusing for students. It's essential to reinforce the importance of the order of the coordinates. The best way to answer this question is to give lots of examples, showing how reversed pairs don't mean the same thing. To help students remember which coordinate is named first, tell them that, just as x comes before y in the alphabet, the x-coordinate comes before the y-coordinate in an ordered pair. Maps are useful here as well. Use a map and ask students to find a town in a given square of the map. Then reverse the coordinates and ask the students if the same town is at those coordinates. This gives a practical, real-world example of why order is important!
        Finding and Graphing Points
      for Linear Relationships

      Finding the Length of a Line

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