Plotting Points Introduction

Plotting points is challenging for some students, even in high school. This approach uses the analogy of setting up a ladder for the x-value and climbing the ladder for the y-value.

Jamboard with Ladder

This activity is conducted on a Google Jamboard with moveable objects (see photo at the bottom on how to access it).The activity draws on prior knowledge, which allows for the steps for positioning the point point to be meaningful. The x-axis is established as the ground, with an image of green grass superimposed over the axis. The ladder is climbed, moving toward the sun. This aligns the ordered pair with the axes. It also allows for color coding on coordinate planes on subsequently used handouts.

The steps are listed below and can be viewed on Youtube or a FB Reel showing the steps.

  • Move the ladder to the appropriate location on the ground.
  • Position the dot at the bottom of the ladder on the x-value.
  • Move the dot up the ladder to the appropriate y-value.
  • Pull the ladder away.

Jamboard without Ladder

Next, the ladder is faded but the color is maintained. 3 is green so move along the grass to the 3. Then yellow 5 so move up 5, towards the sun.

Finally, the colored numbers are retained but the grass and sun are faded. References to the green grass and sun can be used as necessary, even with highlighters on the Jamboard.


The Jamboard can transition to a handout with matching coordinate planes. The grass and sun are faded. If a student is stuck, you can return to the Jamboard to model the problem.

Students can use highlighters as necessary to replicate the grass and sun numbers. The highlighters can be faded to result in a regular plotting a point problem.

Accessing Jamboard

To access the Jamboard, make a copy.

Kahoot Game

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A Kahoot is an online and app quiz game that allows students to answer questions using a personal device (e.g. simulated phone in photo above). The teacher can create the questions (e.g. example question I created in photo above).

My approach is to use a Kahoot to scaffold learning. In this post I use plotting points as an example.

  • I start with simple questions, e.g. identify the letter and number coordinates for the dog and chick below. Notice in the top photo below that I provide the actual coordinates in question 1 (“for the dog C4”) as a scaffold to show the students what to do.
  • Then I show numeric coordinates for a point, but only with positive numbers.
  • Eventually I present problems that address all 4 quadrants and ask questions about the parts of the coordinate plane (photo bottom one, below).
  • Notice that the questions have times (in seconds). This indicates the time allotted to answer each question (teacher sets this). For students with special needs I print a hard copy to allow them more time to read the question. If necessary, they can respond by circling the answer on the handout.

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