Coordinate Geometry Activities

Featured Game: Capture the Penguins

This game is designed to introduce elementary students to coordinate geometry. Students roll 2 dice: one regular die and one die marked A-B-C-D-E-F. After rolling the dice, students form an ordered pair and capture a penguin, if there is one on that space. In the simplest version, students place the penguins on the board, and play to see who can capture more penguins. For a more challenging version, see the directions included with the game mat.

Penguin pieces: The penguins pictured to the right were created from clothespins and doll stands, available at craft stores. They were assembled and spray painted black. Later, white and yellow acrylic craft paint was used to add details. A black sharpie pen added eyes. NOTE: Game pieces depicting two different penguins are included with the game mat. These can be laminated and cut out for student use. OR use any manipulatives to represent the penguins.

  • Download Capture the Penguins game mat, penguin pieces, directions and recording sheet.
  • Download Capture the Penguins 6x6 game mat for traditional play using 2 regular dice to graph coordinate pairs at intersections.

Coordinate Geometry Games

These games support student development of the concept of ordered pairs as they play to win each game.

Clean Up the Money Game

This 2-player game challenges students to toss 2 dice, form a coordinate pair, then collect the coin from that space, if there is one. First students alternate placing quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies on the gameboard. Then students toss a regular die and a special die (A-B-C-D-E-F) to form the coordinate pair and remove the coin from the matching space. Variations of the game are given but students must always find the value of their coins to identify the winner of the game so they get plenty of practice sorting and counting coins. NOTE: Buy wooden cubes at craft stores to create the ABCDEF die or use labels to cover the faces of a regular die.

Grab the Candy Game

Students toss two dice (one regular and one A-F) in this fun game that introduces students to coordinate graphing in the spaces. Students form a coordinate pair based on the dice toss and place a marker on that space, if possible. If the space holds a candy, they grab the candy for a quick five points. Create A-F dice using plain dice or purchase small wooden cubes at a craft store to make the dice.

Gridlock Game

This game was developed to provide fun practice of the coordinate grid. Students toss two dice, form a coordinate pair and place a marker on that intersection. Students alternate turns, each trying to be the first to get four markers in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Students may use either of the two possible coordinate pairs to make their best moves.

High Five Game

This game takes the Gridlock Game to new heights as students create coordinate grid buildings. Students continue to place markers on the coordinates created by tossing two dice but in this game, they can pile markers (small cubes) on top of each other to create buildings. The first player to place a marker that creates a four-story building wins the game. Add the data collection exercise so that students analyze the probability of this 3-D experience.

Shape Capture Game

This game is a simplified version of Battleship in which each partner plots a quadrilateral then tries to guess both the location and type of quadrilateral his/her opponent drew. Each player names an ordered pair and marks the gamesheet to record whether the point is a vertex, inside, outside or on the lines of the quadrilateral. Play alternates back and forth until one player has found all four vertices and correctly identifies his/her opponent's quadrilateral.

Coordinate Grid Graphing

These activities encourage students to color coordinate pairs to create pictures.

Additional Coordinate Math Activities on the Internet

  • Dino Dig: challenges students to find the dinosaurs hidden in the coordinate grid.
  • What's the Point?: offers three levels to test students' facility with ordered pairs.
  • Graph Mole: also offers three levels to test students' facility with ordered pairs as they try to locate the moles on the coordinate grid.
  • Looking for the Top Quark challenges students to use ordered pairs to locate their opponent's quarks.
  • Lunar Adventure challenges students to use ordered pairs to blast the asteroids.
  • Battleships: online version of the popular game.