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World of Tan 28 - Concentrating on Coordinates

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This activity follows on from World of Tan 27 - Sharing.

On the table, there is a sheet of paper covered with dots. Little Ming and Little Fung are using it to play a game.

It is almost time for dinner and Granma T is busy preparing the meal. She keeps asking Little Ming and Little Fung to clear the table and set out bowls and chopsticks, but they are focused on their game and don't seem to hear her...

Granma T: For the last time, you two need to move and set the table!

The two children jump in suprise and rush to get ready for dinner.

Little Ming: We were only doing our homework.

Little Fung: And I was winning!

Granma T: Well perhaps while we eat dinner you can explain what has kept you so engrossed. Mah Ling and Chi Ping have been playing this game all afternoon, and the workers appear to have forgotten they come here to work.

Little Ming: It's a game that we've been taught at school.

Little Fung: To help us learn all about coordinates.

Granma T: Ah, I remember learning about coordinates! You mean a point P (x,y). That takes me back - now, what did we call them back then?

Little Fung: Call what?

Granma T: An ordered sequence of two numbers that locate a point on a grid - the plane.

Little Ming: Plain! What do you mean?

Granma T: Yes, a point on the plane and an ordered sequence of three numbers locates a point in space.

Little Fung: No, no Granma T! This is just a game on a grid. We'll show you after supper - you might like to play!

Granma T: And is this the game that everyone in the yard has been playing?

Little Ming: I'm afraid so, but there wasn't much work to do anyway!

Granma T: So I am paying others to play games? Even Mah Ling was playing, wasn't she? Let's eat now, then we can take a proper look at this game after dinner.

In the meantime, complete the silhouette of one of the playing pieces from chess, which is Little Ming's favourite game.

Extra activities:

  • Have a go at Little Ming and Little Fung's game here
  • Find out which mathematician 'invented' the idea of coordinates.

The story continues in World of Tan 29 - The Telephone.