Homeschool Maths: Co-ordinate Graphs


This post will contain all the activities we did in our homeschool maths about Co-ordinate Graphs. First, I will introduce you to an excellent book about x,y co-ordinates. Next, I will show you how we used our aged map to answer some Viking themed co-ordinate graph questions. And lastly, I will describe how we used our huge paper mache map to work out the perimeter and area of Great Britain on our map (not to scale).

Co-ordinate Graphs Living Maths Resource

Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map

Sir Cumference and the Viking’s Map 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

Homeschool Maths: Co-ordinate Graphs

Using Our Aged Viking Maps to Learn About Co-ordinate Graphs

I made some aged Viking maps with co-ordinates and prepared a quick history lesson on the explorations of the Vikings.

Making an Aged Map

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

Co-ordinate Maths instructions
Click on it for a close up

I included decimal work, graph work, addition and subtraction. In addition I wrote down 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.  Here’s the end result:

Homeschool Maths: Co-ordinate Graphs
Map and instructions filled in

Using Our Huge Paper Mache Map to Measure Perimeter

The second maths activity also involved the huge paper mache 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. 

Charlotte, thought she would use a ruler, then changed her mind to a tape measure, adding that a dress maker’s tape measure would be more malleable. 

Lillie 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 A LOT more men)  mathematically it made sense. 

I asked them to think of an easier way that was similar to the tape.  Thomas joined us at this point and suggested string, then measuring the string against the tape measure. 

The girls did just that:

Measuring the perimeter of the map
Measuring perimeter using string

After they had gone around the whole map, they used the measuring tape to measure the length of the string. This gave them the perimeter of the map:

Homeschool Maths Co-ordinate Graphs

Using Our Huge Paper Mache Map to Measure Area

Next, I asked how they would go about finding the area.  Lillie wanted to use her men again (!) and Charlotte thought using the maths blocks and filling the inside of the map with those might work.  However, it was Lillie 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. 

Lillie would be the child that struggles with Maths the most, although I have 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!

More Viking Maths

Looking at Probability Using Viking Runes


  1. This is so well done! It’s such a joy to see the children discovering for themselves the logic behind each calculation. Excellent work here.

  2. These are great ideas. I really like the kids creativity with perimeter and they way you had them think about how to solve this complex problem.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. You are so creative! What a fun unit! And I am totally checking out that book! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week,
    Beth =-)

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