Unmuddling Maths: Co-ordinate Graphs


This book is a clever little book, explaining the x,y co-ordinates in a way that the children can’t fail to remember.  This week our hands on maths was all based around this book.  The concepts I wanted to teach and/or revise were:

  • Horizontal and vertical
  • Decimals
  • Working with dates and time passing
  • Map keys
  • Working out positions from x,y co-ordinates
  • Working out x,y co-ordinates from positions on the map

I made some maps (For instructions see https://angelicscalliwags.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/making-an-aged-viking-map/: ) with co-ordinates and prepared a quick history lesson on the explorations of the Vikings.

IMGP4406Using the history of Viking exploration I made up lots of mathematical questions and instructions for the children to follow:

Click on it for a close up

I included decimal work, graph work, addition and subtraction. I also included lots of important facts that they were required to work with in order to complete the maths quest.   I’m hoping they will remember not only the maths but the history and lots of accidental geography.  I tell you homeschool is cool!.  I’m thinking if I link maths to history I might have a hope of having enough time to do it credit.  Here’s the end result:

Map and instructions filled in

The second maths activity also involved the map.  I displayed it on the table and asked the girls to explain using the map as reference, what the perimeter of Great Britain was and what the area was.  I didn’t (obviously) want exact measurements, just an explanation.  To my surprise they knew immediately.  This is something they have continually forgotten over the years with worksheets.  Thinking I must be on a roll I asked them how they would go about measuring the perimeter and area of Great Britain on the map.  Every suggestion, whilst imaginative, did actually make sense.  C10 thought she would use a ruler, then changed her mind to a tape measure, adding that a dress makers tape measure would be more maleable.  L10 thought she would like to line up playmobil men all around the outline of Britain, measure them and multiply the measurement of one by how many fitted around the map.  Although time consuming and expensive (we would have needed ALOT more men)  mathematically it made sense.  I asked them to think of an easier way that was similar to the tape.  T10 joined us at this point and suggested string, then measuring the string against the tape measure.  Which the girls then did:




I also asked how they would go about finding the area.  L10 wanted to use her men again (!) and C10 thought using the maths blocks and filling the inside of the map with those might work.  It was L10 in a light bulb moment, seconds later, who shouted with much enthusiasm to use squared paper.  She followed it up with counting all the whole squares and crossing them out, then mixing and matching the bits of squares and counting any whole ones made.  L10 would be the child that struggles with Maths the most, although I had noticed how easy she finds it when applied to things that matter- cooking, money etc.  This exercise actually showed me how visual she is and how, although numbers don’t make too much sense to her, their application when applied to something physical did.  I’m a very happy mummy!


  1. I am struggling with my youngest understanding and enjoying math. All the “comfortable” math curriculum I’ve used with his older siblings (successfully) aren’t working with him. I love this idea of doing living math! It might be just the thing for him!

    1. I’ve only been doing it for a week, but I must say the effects have been greater than I could have imagined. L10 is asking to do maths!! I’m not sure this has EVER happened before. Thanks for commenting, I often stop by your blog so I’ll be interested to see how it goes for you.

  2. This is a really cool way to incorporate math into a history or geography lesson. My daughter loves geography and maps. I can’t wait to try this with her when she is ready. Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

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