Monday, March 25, 2013

Coordinate Plane Fun!!

     One of my favorite activities to use with my students is Looking for the Top Quark.  I take my students to the computer lab and give them the web address to Jefferson Lab.  Located at this address is a fantastic resource for your class,  The game is called Looking for the Top Quark.  It is a really fun way for students to practice plotting points in all four quadrants on a coordinate plane!  Basically it is like playing battleship except with Quarks.  What is a Quark?  They are these really cute little guys that the students hide on their coordinate plane.


Plotting in all Four Quadrants!


     I always have my students choose the medium size grid and create a competition to create excitement.  The students play against the computer and try to discover where the computer has hidden its Quarks.  The first student to beat the computer will get the title Top Quark and a homework coupon.  All other students who beat the computer will also receive the homework coupon too.  It is not that easy to beat the computer.  I usually only have about 5 winners out of a class of 23.  While students are working, I walk around and announce who has found a quark or how many they have found.  This creates even more excitement.  The students get so excited when they find the Quarks.  They need to find all 6 of the computers before the computer finds their 6.  This activity is so great because the students have to create an ordered pair each move and then plot all of the computers moves.  By the end of one period every student in my class can plot in all 4 quadrants with ease.  They don't even realize they are learning.  They beg me to play again that's how much they love this activity.

This is how the game looks at the start.

Looking For The Top Quark
You will be playing your game on a grid that ranges from -4 to 4 on the x-axis (the horizontal axis) and from -4 to 4 on the y-axis (the vertical axis). Coordinates are made by combining x and y values in a specific order - the x value is always listed first and the y value is always listed second. The coordinate (-3, 2) locates a point at the intersection of -3 on the x-axis and 2 on the y-axis, as shown on the diagram below:

                       A point is plotted at the coordinates (-3, 2).
Where would you like to place your quarks?
 Place my Up Quark at () Place my Down Quark at ()
 Place my Charm Quark at () Place my Strange Quark at ()
 Place my Top Quark at () Place my Bottom Quark at ()
What is your first name?  
Click on the link above to play.

How do you practice plotting points in the quadrants?

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