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The Coordinate System is Our Friend!
The coordinate system provides an organized way to display information. In this subtopic we will establish a coordinate system, learn how to plot a point in a coordinate system, explore what it means to be a point on the plane, and determine if a point is a solution of an equation.
Important definitions include those for:
  • axis or axes
  • origin
  • quadrant
  • ordered pair
  • first coordinate/first component
  • second coordinate or second component
  • abscissa
  • ordinate
  • plotting a point
  • solution
  • graphing
When working with developmental algebra students, it is important to begin with definitions and the basic concepts of the coordinate system. Although many of our students have had algebra in high school, they may not remember the components of the coordinate system or how to graph a point.
In this subtopic, we begin with lecture notes for use by the instructor with students or as an individual student activity. In the lecture notes, we define important terms, establish a coordinate system, demonstrate how to plot points within a coordinate system, and demonstrate how to determine if an ordered pair is a solution to an equation. Elements within the lecture notes may be used to assess understanding of the content.
Activity two, Crepe Paper Activity, is designed to use in the classroom and encourages students to become involved in the learning process. At the conclusion of the activity, students should be proficient in plotting points on a coordinate system.
Activity three, Graphing With Ordered Pairs, can be used as a take-home assignment for students or as an in-class quiz to determine understanding of plotting points on the coordinate plane.
In the summary, instructors are provided with a Pre-Test and Post-Test of the subtopic. Instructors may choose to use both tests or, only the Post-Test as a final assessment.