10 Fun Coordinate Plane Games & Activities For Middle School

We are all very much familiar with this surface formed by the intersection of one horizontal and another vertical line. If it took you a minute to place the x-axis as the horizontal line and the y-axis as the vertical line, chances are you also didn’t enjoy this chapter of mathematics as much. 

Problems related to the coordinate plane are quite simple and follow some very basic rules. Once practiced enough, the individual can solve them almost immediately without even requiring to make an actual coordinate plane. 

To help with this very goal of practicing, this blog enlists various fun games and activities that can be used with middle school students to better clarify their understanding and retention of the coordinate plane.

Fun games and activities for decoding the coordinate plane

Summarized below is a list of a few games and activities that can be used with middle school students to enhance their knowledge about the coordinate plane while having some fun.

1. Snakes and ladders with a twist 

snakes and ladders with a twist

For this activity, the educator will have to add coordinates to various points on a regular snake and ladder board. These coordinates associated with different points will take the player closer to or farther from the origin or (0,0). Getting to 100 will finally take the player to the origin which will be the goal of the game. The educator will also need to arrange a coordinate plane.

For playing this game, the students will have to follow these steps: 

  1. Roll the dice, see what point on the snakes and ladder board they land on and if there’s a coordinate associated with it. 
  2. If there is a coordinate associated with their position on the snakes and ladder board, they will accordingly move their position on the coordinate plane. 
  3. The game will take them to various places on the snakes and ladder board if they climb up or get cut and simultaneously on the coordinate board depending on what point they land on.
  4. The first student to reach 100 on the snakes and ladder board which will take them to the origin on the coordinate plane will win the game.

Students can be divided into groups of four to five to play this game. It will teach them how to locate points on the coordinate plane based on coordinates. It will combine the benefits of learning with the fun and excitement of competition. 

2. What am I?

What am I activity

For this activity, the educator will have to hand out individual graph sheets with coordinates written on top of them. The coordinates can either be the same for everyone or a bunch of different things.

The goal of the students would be to plot these coordinates on the coordinate plane and join the points to figure out what object their coordinates represent. This game can also be played in teams where the team to finish the entire set of coordinates and figure out all the objects first would win. Playing in teams can also be an effective team-building game. 

This activity will also teach children how to make a coordinate plane on a graph sheet, plot the points based on coordinates, and join them to make a figure.

3. Find the word

Find the word activity

For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a set of sentences or an essay with missing words. The letters of these words or the entire word itself can be written on the coordinate plane. In the place of dashes where the missing word should be, the educator can place the coordinates.

The job of the students here would be to find the appropriate word based on the coordinates and complete the sentences. This game can also be played competitively. The class can be divided into several teams and given their individual essays and coordinate planes with words written on them to solve and complete. The first team to accurately complete the passage could be declared the winner.

This activity combines both vocabulary and math, where students don’t only learn how to locate a point based on its coordinates but also various new words that they will eventually use to complete the passage.

4. Enter Code

Enter the code activity

This activity will take the form of a jailbreak or ‘escape while you can room’ where the students would have to figure out the code that opens the gate before it’s too late.

For this activity, the educator will have to design several coordinate planes with points marked on them. Each point will have an alphabet written on top of it, denoting the order in which it needs to be put into the locked keypad. To make things more interesting, the keypad can display the required numbers in the form of XYYXY, denoting which coordinate, X or Y, is required from the five plotted on the coordinate plane. For example, the number 3 from point (3,4) marked as A on the coordinate plane will be the first number of the code.

This class will be divided into two teams. Each successful code break under the 30 seconds timer will earn them points. At the end of a series of codebreaking, whichever team has the highest points will win. This activity will require the students to work their way backward, wherein they are given the point but have to figure out the coordinates from them. The competition will promote teamwork and increase engagement within the class. 

5. Riddle me this

For this activity, the educator will have to write several riddle templates on chits and put them in a bowl. 

The class can then be divided into two teams. One team has to pick a chit and, according to the riddle template, give a coordinate to the other team in the form of a riddle. For example, the riddle can look something like this, 4 x marks they left when they lost me somewhere in the 4th sea. Ask them y, and you will get 5 negative answers. Where am I? The other team has to take the clues given in the riddle and figure out what the coordinate is and plot it on the coordinate plane. For instance, in this example, the other team will plot (4,-5) in the 4th quadrant.

With this game, both teams’ knowledge of the coordinate plane will get exercised in each round. Making the riddle will also require quite a bit of effort, and so will decoding and accurately plotting it on the coordinate plane.

6. Coordinate twister

Coordinate twister

This activity is a twist on the beloved game of twister. For this game, the educator will have to arrange a very large-sized coordinate plane graph sheet. They will also have to bring the spinner that tells the players which body part they should move to the required color. The 4 colors in the twister mat can be replaced by the coordinate sheet which will include 4 quadrants, quadrant 1 (positive x, positive y), quadrant 2 (negative x, positive y), quadrant 3 (negative x, negative y) and quadrant 4 (positive x, negative y).

The students can play this game in groups of 3 or 4. Each time they spin, they will be told which hand or foot do they need to move to which quadrant, Also, the student then needs to tell coordinates on which he/she has landed. Eventually, the ones who fail to reach the required quadrant or fall will be eliminated, and the last remaining person will become the winner.

This game will help students physically apply themselves and have fun while about various quadrants of the coordinate plane.

7. Where is Billy From?

Where is billy from

For this activity, the educator will have to make a transparent coordinate plane and arrange a world map. They will also have to write a bunch of coordinates either on chits and put them in a bowl or present them on the screen.

The task of the students will be to overlay the transparent coordinate plane on the world map. Based on the coordinate given, they will have to find out the location of Billy on the world map. The more accurate they are about the continent, country, and even city, the more points they will get. At the end of the game, the team with the highest points will win. 

This activity will help the students in realizing some real-life applications of learning the concept of the coordinate plane. They will learn how to use the concept to figure out the different directions and find the desired location. 

8. Hit me 

Hit me coordinate plane activity

For this game, the educator will have to arrange several coordinate plane graph papers and stationery like pencils, scales, and erasers.

Here, the students will be divided into groups of 4 or 5, and each group will be given its own coordinate plane. Then students will take turns giving an equation to one of their group members, which they will pictorially represent. The goal of each student will be to give an equation that leads to a figure that intersects most of the equations already pictorially represented on the coordinate plane. The more lines their equation intersects, the more points they will get. On the other side, if the equation student gives does not intersect any other line, that student will be out of the game. In the end, the student with the most points will become the winner of the group.

This game will make learning how to graphically represent equations on a coordinate plane fun.

9. Guess the shape

For this game, the educator will have to provide several graph papers with coordinate planes and prepare a bowl full of chits with names of various shapes written on them.

The class will be divided into three or four teams. When the team’s turn comes, they will send one of their members to go pick a chit and find out what shape is written on it. Then that member would have to give the team members coordinates to help them draw the shape and guess what it is under 45 seconds or less. At the end of all the chits, the team to guess the most shapes correctly will be declared the winner.

This game will help students mentally represent the coordinate plane and manipulate it in a manner that they are able to draw a figure mentally and explain it to their team in the form of coordinates. 

10. Maze Escape

Maze game

For this game, the educator will need two different mazes made on coordinate planes and two simple coordinate plane graph sheets. 

The students will be divided into two teams. Half of the team will be able to see the maze, and the other half will be able to plot the points on the coordinate plane. The goal of the half that can see the maze would be to guide the half that can’t by giving them coordinates so that they can together make it out of the maze. The first team to successfully finish the maze will win.

This game will also help mentally represent the coordinate plane while giving directions in the form of coordinates. The excitement of the competition will make the learning process much more fun.


While it can seem like a daunting figure with numbers written in all four directions, the coordinate plane and its related questions are quite easy to master. The student only requires their basics clarified and a considerable amount of practice. Both of these goals can be met through activities like snakes and a ladder with a twist, what am I, find the word, enter code, riddle me this, coordinate twister, where is Billy from, hit me, guess the shape, and maze escape. These activities, amongst other geometry activities, can help in combining the effort of learning and practicing with the fun of games and competition.

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