Coordinate Plane: The Basics

Contributor: Briana Pincherri. Lesson ID: 11267

If geometry seems like a coordinated plot that makes you climb the walls, take heart! Simple videos and online practice teach you how to take flight with plotting coordinates on the coordinate plane!


Plane Geometry (2D)

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Are you ready to grab your gear and start climbing graphs in math?

You can spend time going up, down, and all around the graph to plot points after you know just how to navigate a graph. This lesson teaches you the basics for your voyage!

This lesson is going to teach you about plotting points on something called the coordinate plane.

Let's get started by seeing exactly what the coordinate plane is. See the picture below:

Coordinate Plane

On every coordinate plane, you will always find two lines that are perpendicular (cross each other to make 90-degree angles!) as follows:

x-axis: This line will run horizontally or side-to-side.

y-axis: This line runs vertically or up and down.

The lines cross each other at a point called the origin. The point of the origin is always (0,0).

Take a look at the picture of the coordinate plane.

  • What do you notice about how it is numbered?
  • Do you notice anything about where the positive and negative numbers are?
  • Is there any organization to it?

Let's take a closer look. Here is what you will always find when numbering the coordinate plane:

  • Numbers on the x-axis are just like a standard number line. They are negative to the left of 0 and positive to the right of 0.
  • Numbers on the y-axis are positive above 0 and negative below 0.

If you take a look at the graph again, you will see that it is split into 4 sections. Each of these sections is called a quadrant. We will talk more about quadrants in the next lesson in our Coordinate Plan series, found in the right-hand sidebar under Related Lessons.

You can plot points on a coordinate plane in one of the quadrants by using an ordered pair. An ordered pair is in the form of (x-value, y-value) and helps you map where a point should go.

Let's take a look at this Coordinate Plane and Plotting Points video by Mathodman to see examples of the terms we've noted thus far:


Once you have finished the video, summarize in your own words how you plot points on the coordinate plane. Once you have done this, you may go ahead to the Got It? section for a little practice.

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