Number Sense Blog

    Word Problem Wednesday: Find Your Way Using a Coordinate Plane

    By Mathnasium | Added Jun 27, 2018

    Practice the useful elementary school math skill of finding distance using a coordinate plane with this fun word problem challenge from Mathnasium.

    It’s a great time of year to get out and about! To travel to beaches and amusement parks, or even just take a bike ride and visit some friends around town. Summer wandering provides a great opportunity to practice some elementary math skills such as plotting distances on a coordinate plane. Grab some graph paper and take a shot at solving this week’s word problem challenge.

    Question: Chloe gets on her bike at home and rides 2 miles north to the post office. From there, she rides 3 miles west to the library. Then, she rides 4 miles south to the park, then 5 miles east to the farmer’s market. Finally, Chloe rides her bike 2 miles north to her friend Daniel’s house. How far away is Daniel’s house from Chloe’s house? In what direction?


    Take your time with this one. We know you can do it! When you're ready, check below for the solution.


    Solution: Instead of trying to solve this mentally, use a coordinate plane and put Chloe’s house on the origin. The post office is at (0, 2). The library is at (–3, 2). The park is at (–3, –2). The farmer’s market is at (2, –2). Finally, Daniel’s house is at (2, 0), which is 2 miles to the right, or east, of Chloe’s house.

    Looking for an educational activity to help keep kids occupied on road trips? Plotting distances on a coordinate plane is a great way to practice this useful math skill--and it’s a fun activity for the whole family!




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