Pattern Block Coordinates

Junior (Age 9 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

Junior: Number Sense

  • Compare and order integers, decimal numbers, and fractions, separately and in combination, in various contexts.

Junior: Geometry and Spatial Sense

  • Plot and read coordinates in all four quadrants of a Cartesian plane, and describe the translations that move a point from one coordinate to another.


  • Barrier game played in groups of 3.


  • Set of pattern blocks per player
  • 1 game board per player (Appendix A): easy (first quadrant only) and hard (all four quadrants)


  • The single player (Hider) secretly places various pattern blocks on their game board (Figure 1). The group of two (Guessers) know which shapes have been used, but not where they have been placed.
  • The group uses rational numbers (whole numbers, decimals, and fractions) to guess the location of the pattern blocks’ vertices or any point on the coordinate grid that is covered by the pattern block. The goal is to determine the exact location of the shapes.
    • The group will mark correct guesses with a red pen, and incorrect guesses with a black pen (Figure 2).

Look Fors

  • Do students plot and read coordinates in all four quadrants of a Cartesian Plain?
  • Do students use rational numbers (whole numbers, decimals and fractions) correctly when talking with their partners?

Related Lessons

A possible introductory lesson, students use the first quadrant of the cartesian plane to challenge a classmate in this version of Battleship.

Students practice reflections and translations by following a classmates’ directions to place objects on a plane.

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