# 4.1: The Coordinate Plane

## Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

- Identify coordinates of points.
- Plot points in a coordinate plane.
- Graph a function given a table.
- Graph a function given a rule.

## Vocabulary

Terms introduced in this lesson:

- coordinate plane
- and axes
- origin
- quadrant
- ordered pair
- and coordinates
- positive , negative
- positive , negative
- relation
- domain
- range
- graph of a function
- continuous function
- discrete function
- independent variable
- dependent variable
- linear relationship
- discrete problem
- slope
- intercept

## Teaching Strategies and Tips

Introduction: Motivate coordinates with examples from daily life that employ rectangular coordinate systems.

- Examples: a city map, the game of
*Battleship*, a chessboard, spreadsheets, assigned seating at a theater. - Discuss how to find a particular location in each example: a seat in a theater can be found by row number and then by seat number.
- Point out that the examples are
*lattices*, differing from the Cartesian coordinate system in that they are discrete.

Use Examples 1-3 to demonstrate finding coordinates of points on a graph and Examples 4 and 5 to plot points given their coordinates. Allow the class to make observations such as:

- The coordinates of a point cannot be interchanged since the first coordinate specifies going left/right and the second coordinate, up/down. For example, is not the same point as .
- If a coordinate of a point is , then the point resides on an axis.
- Quadrants can be distinguished by the signs of the coordinates contained in them. For example, a point having coordinates with the signs resides in quadrant II. Points with coordinates having signs belong to quadrant III.
- In Example 4, it is necessary to display four quadrants so that all points will be visible. The set of points in Example 5 have only positive coordinates; it is convenient therefore to display only the first quadrant. As an informal rule, axes do not need to be extended farther than the largest and smallest coordinates and coordinates.
- Resize a graph by rescaling the axes. In general, the and axes can be scaled differently. Axis tick marks do not need to be unit increments.

General graphing tips:

- In applied problems, the independent and dependent variables should be distinguished early. Ask:

*What quantity is depending on the other?*

- In setting up the axes, a suitable scale must be chosen. Ask:

*Will the important features of the graph be visible?*

*Will it be necessary to use different increments along the two axes?*

- Constructing tables is a valuable tool. See Examples 6 & 7. Allow students to use the simple inputs, in their tables when appropriate.

The second method in Example 7 will be returned to in greater detail in a subsequent chapter.

## Error Troubleshooting

General Tip: To determine the graph of a linear relationship, no more than two points are needed. Students can be encouraged to plot at least three to ensure no arithmetical errors were made.