Solving problems with coordinates

Home learning focus

In this lesson you will learn how to plot coordinates. This is the first of four lessons this week, increasing in difficulty.

This lesson includes:

  • one video
  • three interactive activities


Coordinates are plotted on a pair of axes and show the exact position of a point.

Each axis is labelled with a scale of numbers, like a number line. The values can be positive or negative.

(0,0) is the point where both axes cross. It is called the origin. The position of a coordinate is shown using an X.

There are two axes:

The x axis is left to right (horizontal).

The y axis is bottom to top (vertical). You can remember this by thinking that the letter 'y' has a longer, vertical tail.

Here the point (2,4) is shown. (2,4) means the coordinates are two units to the right in the x-direction and four units up in the y-direction.

The x axis number is always first. You can remember this by saying "along the corridor then up the stairs"

Coordinate points are always written in brackets, with a comma between the two numbers.

Plotting multiple coordinates

A list of four coordinates can be used to represent the corners of a shape.

For example, (2,3), (3,0), (0,-1) and (-1,2) when plotted and joined together, make a square.

Watch the video below from BBC Bitesize on plotting coordinates and then finding the centre of the shape that has been drawn.

Find out how to plot coordinates

Activity 1

Coordinates and shapes

Print out the activity below from Teachit and answer the questions on coordinates. Alternatively draw the coordinates out on squared paper.

The answers are at the bottom of the worksheet.

Coordinates and shapes


Activity 2

Missing coordinates

Try this worksheet from Teachit. Either print it out or draw the shapes out on squared paper - there might be some in your Maths workbook from school.

The answers are at the bottom of the worksheet.

Missing coordinates worksheet

Activity 3

Coordinates quiz

Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

KS3 Maths
BBC Bitesize Daily
What is a number line?
11-14 Maths
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