Drawing with Coordinates

Grade 6, 60-90min

In the Drawing with Coordinates activity, students will create their own designs by plotting coordinate pairs on paper. They trade their list of coordinate pairs with a partner, who attempts to recreate the original image to see how accurate their algorithm was. Students then enter the same list of ordered pairs into the Coordinate Drawer web app and explore how changing points and reflections affect their designs.


Topics addressed:

  • Identifying coordinates of a point
  • Graphing coordinate pairs on the coordinate plane
  • Primary CT concept: algorithmic thinking. Students are effectively writing a simple algorithm with their series of ordered pairs, and they will begin to understand that the computer running their algorithm (whether it’s their partner or the web app) only understands the exact algorithm they’ve input.

Students will be able to:

  • Create artistic designs by plotting and manipulating coordinate pairs
  • Understand that computers perform the exact series of steps we input, even if we meant something different



  • Install Coordinate Drawer Chrome app on students’ Chromebooks (through Google Admin console), provide a link where they can install the Chrome app from, or provide a link to the web app. If you are not using Chromebooks, you must use the web app. It is possible to run this activity without the app, if you do not have devices for students.
  • Print the worksheet single-sided, such that students can share the second page independent of the first

Suggested lesson breakdown:

Students can self-pace through this lesson, but you might suggest or loosely enforce the following chunks:

  • 5min – introduce the activity
  • 5-10min – Step 1: students brainstorm and create a shape using only straight lines
  • 5min – Step 2: students plot and connect coordinate pairs to recreate their design
  • 10-20min – Step 3: students identify and list all of the coordinate pairs needed to recreate their design, keeping in mind that the order each pair is connected in is critical to the algorithm
  • 10-20min – Step 4: students swap second pages with a partner, and each attempts to follow the other’s algorithm by plotting the coordinate pairs and connecting them in order. If students are self-pacing, have two students swap as soon as they are ready to move on.
  • 20-30min – students use the Coordinate Drawer app to recreate and manipulate their designs and/or to create new designs

Common Core standards:

  • CCSS.Math.Content.5.G.A.1
    Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).
  • CCSS.Math.Content.6.NS.C.6.B
    Understand signs of numbers in ordered pairs as indicating locations in quadrants of the coordinate plane; recognize that when two ordered pairs differ only by signs, the locations of the points are related by reflections across one or both axes.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.6.NS.C
    Find and position integers and other rational numbers on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram; find and position pairs of integers and other rational numbers on a coordinate plane.

Read about how this lesson went at Excel Public Charter School here.