Coordinates for Your Sled–The Math Trail

GPS—how did we get anywhere without it! Enter your destination and drive to it! No map unfolding and refolding—map refolding is challenging—it never ends up the way it looked before it was used. GPS directs us to locations using coordinates that map the world. Latitude, longitude, number lines, space, spheres. Coordinates plot points on graphs, too, making numbers into a visible picture or line so we can “see” where the numbers are going, what they are “doing”.

Use this lesson to take your sled down a math trail. It challenges students to plot the coordinates of a sled dog, an activity for upper middle school and Academically Gifted students. Or, use the lesson modification for primary students to make a connect the dots dog using numbers. Color the completed dog and put a harness on it. A set of coordinates, a picture of graphed sled dogs, a connect the dots dog, and a sled dog outline are included in this lesson for your use. Keep reading for another math lesson.

The next math lesson here plots temperatures on a graph, comparing temperatures of three locations over an extended time period. My inspiration for this lesson was the unusually cold temperatures in my area of North Carolina late December 2009 through early January 2010. The cold temperatures coincided with the introduction of integers for our sixth grade team, so Mother Nature lent a great hand to learning! Students plotted the temperatures for Nome and Anchorage Alaska and Mt. Pleasant, NC. The lesson provides practice with integers as well as plotting points on a graph. When the graph is complete, turn it into a line graph with a different color line for each location. The lines really communicate the graph results to students.

Mushing on,