Graphing with an Atlas

Graphing in math class can seem like an abstract concept that a child will never use again.  However graphing is used frequently in real life.  One way that the concept of graphing is commonly used is in reading a map.  You can give your child real life graphing practice by using an atlas.

Start with Graphing Basics

When reading a graph in math class, children are taught to go to the right or left first (along the x axis).  From that point, they then move either up or down (on the y axis).  When practicing graphing at home, always encourage your child to follow the same pattern.  Follow the map lines to the right or left first, then up or down.  This will allow them to have this pattern cemented in their mind for when they reach the harder math classes.

Practice Finding Points on a Map

Most atlas maps are divided into sections by letter and number.  Have your child choose a city from the index in the back of the atlas.  The index will list the page number the city can be found on and the letter and number section it is found in.  Once your child finds the correct page for the city, have them move their finger across the bottom of the map and then up until they have reached the correct number and letter square given in the index.  Within that square, they should be able to find the city they were looking for. (This is also a great way to include some geography into your math practice time.)  Continue practicing finding cities until your child can locate them without help.

Your child will be practicing the same basic graphing principles taught in math class – left and right, and then up and down to find a point.  However, practicing those concepts on a map make the process more fun.  And when a child is having fun while learning, they remember the concepts better in the long run.  How do you make graphing fun for your child?

Check Smart Tutor Elementary Math Curriculum and Free Math Games

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