How to Create a Picture by Plotting Points on a Graph

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Plotting points on a Cartesian coordinate graph is an algebraic concept taught in middle school. To plot a picture on grid paper you must have a list of coordinates. Each coordinate consists of an ordered pair "x" and "y". When locating a point, the "x" value indicates a horizontal movement on the Cartesian coordinate grid. The "y" value indicates an up or down movement. You must always start from origin (where the x- and y- axis cross {0,0}) when you begin the process of plotting points.

    Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line in the center of the graph paper on a grid line. Write an "x" at the right end of the line.

    Use a ruler to draw a vertical line in the center of the graph paper on a grid line. Write a "y" at the top of the line.

    Place numbers near the grid lines on two axises from the origin. Write the positive numbers above origin on the y- axis and to the right of 0 on the x- axis. To establish the intervals, look at the coordinates used to create the picture. If the values are low, choose increments of one. If the numbers are high, choose increments of 5, 20, or 50.

    Graph the point by starting at origin(0,0). Look at the first number (x) in the first coordinate. Move the number of spaces designated by the number. If the integer is positive, move right. If the integer is negative, move left.

    Look at the second number (y) in the first coordinate. Move the number of spaces designated by the number. If the integer is positive, move up. If the integer is negative, move down. Place a point here.

    Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all coordinates.

    Connect the points to create the picture. The directions to establish which points to connect should be specified.

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About the Author

Jean O'Hara has been writing/editing educational articles since 2006. She brings expertise in business and relationships, as well as more than 10 years of experience as an accountant, teacher and math specialist. O'Hara holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration, a Master of Education in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois, and an Illinois teaching certificate with an endorsement in mathematics.

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