Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Learning Inspired by Pinterest: Math Coordinates

I'm a "pinhead". 

Yeah, I love Pinterest and pinning and do it QUITE often. There ARE some really GREAT ideas out there just waiting to be pinned and used. Right? LOL

But I haven't been able to get to many during our school year. We're focused so much on our regular schoolwork and activities (and all those other gazillion "little things" that need doing each day) that EXTRAS get passed right on by. This summer I hope to change that. There are just too many AWESOME ideas and websites to be explored!

Math Coordinates!

Aren't you excited? LOL Actually I found LOTS of wonderful, interesting, hands-on, multi-sensory, and   delight-directed learning activities to help kids understand and use coordinates. 

The kids LOVED this video from Math Crush! Not only does it explain the history of coordinates and how to do them, but it also shows how it's used in EVERY DAY LIFE! And then we completed the review worksheet provided together. (Unfortunately the rest of the activities are by paid membership only. Boo hoo! I'm a frugal-minded homeschool Mama!)

 We practiced finding coordinates by playing Dice Tic-Tac-Toe from Using a single quadrant grid, the Saplings rolled different colored dice to find a number for the x-axis (red di) and the y-axis (white di), and then marked their spots with a specific shape (i.e. circle and square). And when someone got 3 points in a row, they won. This was perfect for learning which line IS the x-axis and which is the y-axis and for plotting those points!

And then we were ready for something a bit harder! The Saplings completed coordinate puzzles from Math Aids. What's great about this site is that you can make puzzles with varying levels of difficulty! White Pine skipped right through to the Angry Bird character since he's more a pro at this stuff, but Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir completed medium and hard level puzzles.

Oh, and since parabolas were mentioned in the video and how video game designers use coordinates to create games, I let the kids PLAY Angry Birds. This got me MAJOR COOL MOM POINTS! We didn't get into the plotting of parabolas though. I think that was BEYOND the scope of our study! LOL

Math coordinates are also helpful when looking at maps and globes. So, I pulled out the Delorme and we used the key and coordinates to locate various places in Maine, and then we spun the globe around and learned about latitude and longitude. We made a simple manipulative to remember latitude and longitude and (x-axis and y-axis) inspired by Nauticus and practiced latitude and longitude on a world map from Eduplace.

Photo by Nauticus - Visit Website Link Above
For Activity

Coordinates are also very important for the Global Positioning System or GPS.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.
The GPS program provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. In addition, GPS is the backbone for modernizing the global air traffic system. - Wikipedia

And for Geocaching! Ever been? Geocaching is a treasure search game using the GPS system and a handheld GPS receiver using COORDINATES posted by "cachers" at Geocaching websites. (Head over to this website to find out more.) Oftentimes these caches or small plastic or metal boxes are hidden in public parks or wooded areas and are nice hikes. It's ALWAYS exciting to find one, but sometimes disappointing when we simply CAN NOT locate it. We "unearthed" 3 new ones in our area for our coordinates study!

Cache #1 - Founders Cementary
Cache #2 - A Babbling Brook Along the
Path to the Cache by Lumberyard
Cache #2 - Hidden Here!
Cache #3 - Hidden here at the Fish Hatchery! We Fed Fish

And we played Battleship! What better classical COORDINATES board game then this one, huh?

So, what fun Pinterest-inspired learning should we do next?!


  1. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing :) I already pinned the dice coordinates game from I've wanted to try geocaching, but we haven't gotten to it yet.

  2. Thank you so much for the mention. I love Pinterest for learning ideas, too. What fun!

  3. Very cool, Jessy! I haven't heard of these puzzles before, but will check them out, thanks!

  4. I'm glad you decided to link this up at Favorite Resources :)

  5. Haha..."pinhead"! LOVE that! You almost made me spit coffee out my nose!



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