How to Plot Coordinate Graphs with Decimals & Negative Numbers

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  • 0:02 What Is a Coordinate Graph?
  • 0:49 What Are Coordinates?
  • 1:10 How to Plot Coordinates
  • 1:50 How to Plot Decimal Numbers
  • 2:40 How to Plot Negative Numbers
  • 3:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sabrina Hairston

Sabrina has taught a variety of subjects and grades as a substitute teacher and will complete her MAT in 2016.

What is a coordinate graph? What is the origin? What are coordinates? All of these questions and more will be answered in this lesson about plotting decimals and negative numbers.

What Is a Coordinate Graph?

Before you can plot decimal and negative number coordinates on a graph, you need to understand some basic information about coordinate graphs. A coordinate graph is a graph that is split up into four quadrants with an x-axis and y-axis. The x-axis runs horizontally, or side to side, and the y-axis runs vertically, or from top to bottom. Quadrants are the spaces left over after the x and y axes have been drawn. The quadrants are labeled one (I) through four (IV).

graph with coordinates

The origin is the place on the graph where the x and y axes meet. It is the very center of the graph. This point is (0,0).

What Are Coordinates?

Each point on a graph has a set of coordinates. Coordinates are the two numbers that tell where a point is located on the graph. Remember, the coordinates for the origin are (0,0). This tells us that the origin is the very center of the graph because you've traveled 0 places on the x-axis and 0 places on the y-axis.

How to Plot Coordinates

Plotting coordinates can be a little confusing, but it doesn't have to be as long as you remember a few important details. The first number in the coordinate set tells you how far right (for a positive number) or left (for a negative number) you need to travel on the x-axis. The second number in the coordinate set tells you how far up (for a positive number) or down (for a negative number) you need to travel on the y-axis. Any set of coordinates can be represented by the variables x and y. If you picture (x, y), it will help you remember the x-coordinate comes first, so you will travel either right or left before travelling up or down.

How to Plot Decimal Numbers

When plotting decimal numbers, it is good to remember that a decimal is just part of a whole number. For example, 0.5 is half of 1. Therefore, if you were to plot 0.5 you would draw a dot halfway between 0 and 1. Let's try an example plotting decimals with the coordinates (0.5, 3.5).


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