Lesson Objectives
  • Learn how to create a coordinate plane
  • Learn how to plot an ordered pair
  • Learn how to find the quadrant of an ordered pair

How to Plot an Ordered Pair and Determine Its Quadrant


Cartesian Coordinate System (Rectangular Coordinate Plane)

The Cartesian Coordinate System is a formal name for a rectangular coordinate plane. This plane allows us to plot ordered pairs and graph linear equations in two variables. The name for the Cartesian Coordinate System may vary. We may hear this called the rectangular coordinate plane, the coordinate plane, the coordinate system, the Cartesian coordinate plane,...etc. For the purposes of this course, we will normally refer to this as the coordinate plane. To draw the coordinate plane, we set up two number lines. The x-axis is the horizontal number line, it represents x-values. The y-axis is the vertical number line, it represents y-values. Let's look at the coordinate plane: Cartesian Coordinate Plane The point at which the x-axis and y-axis intersect is known as the origin. At the origin, both the x-value and y-value are 0, as an ordered pair: (0,0). Showing the Origin (0,0) for the Cartesian Coordinate Plane On our horizontal number line or x-axis, numbers increase as we move to the right and decrease as we move to the left. On the vertical number line or y-axis, numbers increase as we move up and decrease as we move down. The coordinate plane is split up into four quadrants labeled with Roman numerals as I, II, III, IV. Quadrant I is located in the upper right quadrant. The additional three quadrants are found moving counterclockwise. It is important to note that a point on the x-axis or y-axis does not belong in any quadrant.
Quadrant I » (+, +)
Quadrant II » (-, +)
Quadrant III » (-, -)
Quadrant IV » (+, -)
showing the four quadrants for the coordinate plane

How to Plot an Ordered Pair

We will often refer to an ordered pair as a "point". To plot a point (an ordered pair), we simply find the meeting point of the x-value and y-value. There are many ways to perform this operation. One method is to start at the origin, or the point (0,0). We then move by x-units left or right and y-units up or down. If the x-value is positive, this represents a movement to the right of 0 on the x-axis. If an x-value is negative, this represents a movement to the left of 0 on the x-axis. If a y-value is positive, this represents a movement above 0 on the y-axis. If a y-value is negative, this represents a movement below 0 on the y-axis. We may be given instructions to plot the point (3, 6). This means we want to locate the meeting point of an x-value of 3 and a y-value of 6. At this spot, we will draw a filled-in circle. plotting the ordered pair (3,6) There are many ways to find the point (3, 6). Starting from the origin (0,0) we can move 3 units right and 6 units up. This puts us at the point (3,6). Let's look at a few examples.
Example 2: Plot each ordered pair, determine its quadrant
(-4,-3)
Starting from the origin, we can move 4 units to the left and 3 units down. Since both x and y values are negative, this point is in quadrant III. plotting the ordered pair (-4,-3) Example 3: Plot each ordered pair
(-9,6)
Starting from the origin, we can move 9 units to the left and 6 units up. Since the x-value is negative and the y-value is positive, this point is in quadrant II. plotting the ordered pair (-9,6)

Skills Check:

Example #1

Give the Ordered Pair and its Quadrant.

Plotting the point (7,4)

Please choose the best answer.

A
(-4, -7) Q: III
B
(-7, -4) Q: IV
C
(7, 4) Q: II
D
(4, 7) Q: I
E
(7, 4) Q: I

Example #2

Give the Ordered Pair and its Quadrant.

Plotting the point (-8,6)

Please choose the best answer.

A
(7, 8) Q: III
B
(-6, -8) Q: IV
C
(-8, 6) Q: IV
D
(-8, 6) Q: II
E
(6, -8) Q: III

Example #3

Give the Ordered Pair and its Quadrant.

Plotting the point (-6,-9)

Please choose the best answer.

A
(-6, -9) Q: IV
B
(-6, -9) Q: II
C
(6, -9) Q: IV
D
(-6, -9) Q: III
E
(-6, 9) Q: II
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