Solving Word Problems with Plotted Data on a Coordinate Plane

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  • 0:00 Plotted Data
  • 1:15 A Word Problem
  • 1:35 Finding the Answer
  • 2:45 Example
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you will be able to solve word problems that involve plotted points on a coordinate plane. Learn how to choose the right points that will answer your question.

Plotted Data

In this lesson, you will learn about solving word problems that involve plotted data on a coordinate plane. Your word problems are math problems written with words, and your coordinate plane is the plane made up of the horizontal x-axis and the vertical y-axis. Points on this plane are written as (x, y), where x is the x-coordinate of the point and y is the y-coordinate of the point. Being able to solve these types of problems will help you on your math tests. Also, if you decide to become a scientist who does research and lab work, then you may also need to know how to solve these types of problems.

Your plotted data can be random, or it can form a pattern on your coordinate plane. Your plotted data will look like a collection of points on your coordinate plane. Each point represents one piece of data. For example, this coordinate plane includes plotted data that shows the number of cats and dogs that each surveyed household has. If you were doing research, you just might see something like this:

plotted data

The x-axis represents the number of dogs and the y-axis represents the number of cats. So, the point (3, 0) represented by the green dot means that this particular household has 3 dogs and 0 cats.

A Word Problem

When dealing with word problems, you might come across something like this on a test:

From the data shown on this coordinate plane, what is the highest number of dogs owned and the highest number of cats owned?

plotted data

Whenever you come across a word problem that involves plotted data, you will most often also see the coordinate plane with the points on it. It's your job to make sense of the plotted data to find your answer.

Finding the Answer

To find your answer, you need to fully understand your problem and what it is asking of you. Reading over your problem again, you see that your problem is actually asking for two different things. The first is the highest number of dogs owned and the second is the highest number of cats owned. The answer could be from one point or from two separate points. You will find out by looking at the plotted data.

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