Year Five - Exploring the Coordinate Plane

Home - Coordinate Plane Map

About this Big Idea

In this Big Idea students explore the concepts of number, position and patterns using the cartesian plane. Students conclude their inquiry be exploring patterns within the multiplication grid.

Understanding Goals:

Students will understand:


The Cartesian plane (commonly referred to as the 'number plane') is named after the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes (1596–1650), who was one of the first to develop analytical geometry on the number plane. On the number plane, the 'coordinates of a point' refers to the ordered pair describing the horizontal position x first, followed by the vertical position y.

The Cartesian plane is applied in real-world contexts, eg when determining the incline (slope) of a road between two points.

Note - Students return to an exploration of the coordinate plane in Year Six when they investigate "Expanding the Number Line" and negative integers. In this Year Five unit students are not required to develop an understanding of negative integers.

Core Content from the Syllabus:

Working Mathematically

Patterns & Algebra

Coordinate Plane


Two-Dimensional Space

Patterns & Algebra

In Stage 3, students should be encouraged to use their own words to describe number patterns. Patterns can usually be described in more than one way and it is important for students to hear how other students describe the same pattern. Students' descriptions of number patterns can then become more sophisticated as they experience a variety of ways of describing the same pattern.


Connected to:

Mindset Mathematics Learning Activities


Students explore the meaning of the coordinate plane by interpreting and creating four-quadrant graphs, using qualitative comparisons instead of values on the axes. - See page 118

Questions for reflection:


Students play with describing and locating points— and the shapes they make— in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane in a game called Ship Shape. - See page 124

Questions for reflection:



Students explore patterns in the multiplication table and then investigate what happens when they graph those patterns on the coordinate plane. - See page 133

Questions for reflection:

Boaler, Munson & Williams (2018) - Mindset Mathematics: Visualizing and investigating big ideas Grade 5
NESA - Mathematics K-10 - 2012



Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.