Math Help: Coordinate Geometry
Coordinate geometry is one kind of math you will really need in adult life. How else will you be able to read maps? Here are some tips to help you get comfortable with this new type of math, including one fun way to practice at home.
Learning to Use Coordinate Graphs in Geometry
Geometry Vocabulary
X and YAxis
On a coordinate graph, the xaxis is the horizontal line, and the yaxis is the vertical line. When you are just beginning to learn about coordinate graphs, it often helps to label these two axes so you don't get confused.
Ordered Pair
An ordered pair is made up of the two coordinates and is written like this: (x, y). The first number is read in terms of the xaxis and the second number is identified in terms of the yaxis. An example of an ordered pair is (5, 7). Ordered pairs are sometimes called 'entries' as well, so five would be the first entry, and seven would be the second entry.
Midpoint Formula
The midpoint formula refers to the mathematical equation needed to find the point that is exactly in between two other points. Let's say you have the numbers four and 12, and you need to find the midpoint between them. First, you have to find the average of four and 12. You can do so by adding four and 12 and then dividing that number by two. In this case, 4 + 12 =16, so 16 ÷ 2 = 8. The midpoint between four and 12 is eight.
How to Find Points on a Graph
One of the first activities you'll do when learning coordinate geometry is identifying ordered pairs on a graph. Let's say you have to locate the ordered pair from the example above (5, 7).
Begin by finding the number five along the xaxis (the horizontal line). Now place the tip of your pencil on that spot, and follow it up until you see the number seven on the vertical line to the left (known as the yaxis). If you extend another finger to the right from the number seven on the yaxis, you will find the point (5, 7).
Read Maps for Practice
Most maps (like the ones for cities, states and even countries) use coordinate geometry to illustrate where places are in relation to each other. When you are first learning to find points on a graph and create basic shapes using coordinate geometry, map reading can help you practice. Reading maps also gives you a sense of the practical, reallife uses of coordinate geometry. Using a map, locate two places and graph the distance between them using the map's key.
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