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Crepe Paper Activity - Where's the Point?
In this activity, students will use the classroom desks and a coordinate plane created by the instructor to kinesthetically practice how to plot points on the coordinate plane and to determine if an ordered pair is a solution to a given linear equation. Extensions of this activity can include the comparison of parallel and perpendicular lines, graphing non-linear equations, or solving and graphing inequalities in two variables.
Note that this activity is designed to be used in a classroom setting and is easiest to complete in a classroom with individual desks. However, modifications can be made for a classroom with tables.
For this activity, the instructor will need the following materials at minimal expense to the instructor.
Blank, no-line index cards
Black crepe paper
Four large sheets of paper
Thick permanent marker
Arrange the desks in the room so that they are in straight columns and rows, as pictured in the following Classroom Diagram.
Using the black crepe paper, establish the x-axis and y-axis across the student desks. Moving from front to back in the classroom, run a continuous strip of crepe paper along one side of each student desk. (You may want to use tape to secure the crepe paper to the desks.) Moving from left to right, position the crepe paper across the desks, allowing breaks for the aisles. This allows for easier student access to the desks. Note that the quadrants do not need to contain the same number of seats. However, be careful to ensure that there are enough desks in each quadrant since each desk will represent an ordered pair on the coordinate plane. Those desks with attached crepe paper will represent points on the axes.
Next, on two of the four sheets of paper draw a large plus (+) sign, and on the other two, a minus (-) sign with the large marker. Using tape or staples, affix a plus at the front of the room and a minus at the back of the room, corresponding to the axis. The instructor may wish to have a large "y" to indicate the y-axis. Then, facing the front of the room, affix a plus on the right and a minus on the left. The instructor may want to include an "x" to indicate the x-axis.
Create ordered pairs that correspond to the position of the desks in the classroom. Write one ordered pair on each index card.
On the day of the activity, give each student an index card as he or she enters the classroom. The index card will indicate the position in which the student will sit for the class period. After each student is seated, check to be sure that each student is in the correct desk.
Once all of the students are seated and checked by the instructor, use the following Question Sheet to complete the activity. Not all of the given equations need to be used or given in the exact order listed. However, the order of the equations given will become important if the instructor is evaluating point position, the student's ability to evaluate an equation, or comparing equations of lines.
Assessment of this activity by the instructor can be performed informally by observation of student participation and student questions during the activity.