Plotting shapes on a grid
Basics on the topic Plotting shapes on a grid
Plotting Shapes using Coordinates
What are coordinates and how do we use them when plotting shapes? Coordinates are pairs of numbers that relate to the x or y axis of a coordinate plane. They are usually written within brackets and (0,0) is the origin. When plotting shapes on a coordinate plane, you need to read the pair of coordinates, knowing that the first number in the brackets relates to the x axis and the second number in the brackets relates to the y axis.
How do you Plot Coordinates on a Grid?
Plotting shapes on a coordinate grid is easy once you know the rules. First, read the first coordinate and find this number by reading along the x axis. Second, read the the second coordinate and find this number by reading up the y axis. Once you know how to do this, you can plot individual points on the grid as well as plotting shapes on the grid, by first plotting each set of coordinates, then joining these with straight lines. Plotting coordinates to make shapes can be fun and a bit like solving a puzzle!
Step by Step Guide to Plotting Coordinates to Make Shapes
Let’s review the steps to take if you want to plot shapes on a coordinate grid:
Look at the pair of coordinates within the set of brackets. If the first pair is (3, 2), starting at the origin, read along the x axis to 3. Then read up the y axis to 2. Finally, plot the coordinate on the grid by marking a small dot or cross.
If you repeat this with other pairs of coordinates, for example (5, 2), (5, 5) and (3, 5), you will end up with 4 coordinates marked on the grid like this.
The final step of plotting shapes using coordinates is to join the coordinates using straight lines. This will form a rectangle shape on our grid as you can see in the picture below.
How do you Plot Coordinates – Summary
In this lesson, we learned how to plot shapes on a grid using coordinates. Let’s review the steps for plotting shapes on coordinate grids:
Step #  What to do 

1  Read the pair of coordinates within the brackets 
2  Remember that the first number relates to the x axis and the second number relates to the y axis 
3  Start from the origin, read along the x axis as far as the first number 
4  Read up the y axis as far as the second number 
5  Plot the point by marking a small dot or cross on the grid 
If you want more practise, including plotting shapes on a coordinate grid worksheet, you can find these on the website along with other ways to practise drawing 2d shapes on a grid and reading coordinates. Once you are confident in reading and plotting coordinates, you will be able to go on to answer questions such as how do you translate a shape on a coordinate grid and how do you reflect and shape on a coordinate grid?
Frequently Asked Questions on the Topic Coordinates Plotting Shapes on a Grid
Transcript Plotting shapes on a grid
Nico and Nia are playing hide and seek. Their friend has left them a clue. It says: Plot each point and mark it down, plot the next, what have you found? Plot again what can you see, draw it and you’ll discover me! Nico and Nia need to plot the coordinates to find out where their friend is hiding. But what are coordinates and how do we plot them? Plotting coordinates on a grid. A coordinate grid is made up of four quadrants. Today we will look at the first quadrant. It is made up of an Xaxis, a Yaxis and an origin where these intersect, marked by zero. Coordinates are given as a pair of numbers. The first number relates to the Xaxis and the second number relates to the Yaxis. Let’s look at the pairs of coordinates to help Nico and Nia plot the clues so that they can find their friend. The first pair says three, two. Starting from the origin, first, we go along the Xaxis to find three, then up the Yaxis to find two and plot the coordinate here. The next pair says five, two. Again, we start at the origin. First, we go along the Xaxis. How many squares do we go along? Five. Then we go up the Yaxis, how many squares do we go up by? Two. So we plot our next coordinate here. The next pair of coordinates says five, five. What do we do? We go along the Xaxis to five and up the Yaxis to five and plot our coordinate here. The final pair of coordinates in this part of the clue are three, five. What do we do? We go along to three and up to five then plot our coordinate here. Now that we have plotted all four pairs of coordinates from the first clue, we can join these with straight lines. Now let's look at the second clue. There are 5 pairs of coordinates, let’s look at the first pair: It says two, five. Can you work out where the coordinate will be? That's right, it will be here. The next pair says six, five. Where will this be plotted? Here. What do the next set of coordinates say? They say eight, seven. So we go along to eight, and up to seven. The next pair is four, eight. What do we do? We go along to four and up to eight, so it will be plotted here. Have a think about where this final coordinate should be plotted. That's right! It goes here! Now that we have marked the second lot of coordinate clues, let’s join them together! Can you work out where their friend must be hiding? Before Nia and Nico go and check, remember, when we plot coordinates: read the pair of numbers. The first tells us the number along the Xaxis. The second number tells us how far to go on the Yaxis. Then we plot the coordinate on the grid. When we have all of the coordinates plotted we can join them with straight lines to form a shape! “Found you!” "Now it's our turn to hide!"
Plotting shapes on a grid exercise

Where is the coordinate plotted?
HintsLook at the coordinate that has been plotted. How many units along the x axis is this? This is the first number in the brackets.
How far up the y axis has the coordinate been plotted? This is the second number in the brackets.
SolutionThe coordinates of the plotted point are (5, 6).
First, read along to 5. Then read up to 6.

Plot the coordinates.
HintsRemember to read along the x axis first.
Read up the y axis second.
In the pair (6, 2), 6 would be how far along the x axis and 2 would be how far up the y axis.
SolutionThe correct labels are shown for each coordinate in the image above.

What shape has been created?
HintsRemember to read along the x axis first.
Read up the y axis second.
SolutionWhen the 4 coordinates are marked on the grid and joined, it creates a parallelogram.

Find the missing coordinate.
HintsFirst, complete the drawing of the rectangle. Then identify where the fourth coordinate will be on the grid.
The first number in the brackets is the x coordinate, which goes along.
The second number in the brackets is the y coordinate, which goes up.
SolutionThe fourth point of the rectangle, marked by D, is at (1, 4).

Plotting coordinates.
HintsRemember to read along the x axis first.
Read up the y axis second.
Here the star is located at (2, 4) because we read along to 2, then up to 4.
SolutionHere the coordinate is plotted at (4, 7).
 First, read along to 4 on the x axis.
 Then, we read up to 7 on the y axis.

Joining coordinates to make shapes.
HintsTry drawing a coordinate grid of your own and plotting the points.
Remember to read along the x axis first and up the y axis second.
Look at how many pairs of coordinates there are. Each pair is a vertex of the 2D shape. How many vertices are in a triangle?
Solution The grid shows the coordinates (3, 6) (4, 8) (3, 9) (2, 8). When joined, these form a kite.
 The square is made by using and plotting: (3, 3) (6, 3) (6, 6) (3, 6).
 The three coordinate pairs (2, 2) (8, 2) (5, 7) form the vertices of a triangle.
 The five coordinate pairs (1, 1) (3, 1) (5, 3) (2, 5) (0, 3) form the vertices of a pentagon.