I want to share with you directions for creating my new favorite teaching tool – a shower curtain coordinate plane.
Over Thanksgiving Break, I pulled out my copy of Teach Like A Pirate to help me infuse some creative ideas into this unit on relations and functions in Algebra 1.
One of the questions you should ask yourself when planning a lesson is if there is anyway you can get the students moving around. Can they act out the process?
I was reminded of my 8th grade Algebra 1 class in middle school. I remember walking down the hall with my class to stand in front of the auditorium. We used the grid lines on the linoleum floor to practice walking out various slopes. I actually remember it most for being incredibly confused about the entire process. But, I definitely have to give my teacher points for trying to make it more hands-on and kinesthetic.
Supplies for a Shower Curtain Coordinate Plane
I started to think of ways in which my students could graph points and later explore slope. My school was built in 1919. My classroom is carpeted. The hall outside my classroom is small 1-inch tile. There is some linoleum right outside the elevator, but I think my kids would disturb all of the other classes on that hall if I tried to have class in the hall. Where could I build a life-sized coordinate plane? My sister suggested that I make my coordinate plane on something that could be picked up and moved like a shower curtain. I liked the idea. I went to Dollar Tree and purchased a 70″ by 72″ shower curtain liner and four rolls of electrical tape for $3.00.
Steps to Create a Shower Curtain Coordinate Plane
With the help of my mom and sister, we laid out the shower curtain liner and marked the center of each side. We placed the rows of electrical tape 6 inches apart to make a grid that extended from -5 to 5.
Starting the Grid
Finishing the Electrical Tape Grid
We used colorful duct tape to form an x- and y-axis for the coordinate plane.
The Finished Product
It’s definitely not perfect. There are lots of little wrinkles. The grid lines aren’t all perfect straight. But, I love it. It’s a coordinate plane. You can walk on it. I can fold it up and store it when I’m not using it. Plus, it’s just cute.
More Resources for Teaching the Coordinate Plane
- Winter Mystery Tangram Puzzle
- Christmas Mystery Tangram Puzzle
- Thanksgiving Mystery Tangram Puzzle
- Halloween Mystery Tangram Puzzle
- 8 Fun & Engaging Coordinate Plane Activities
- Parts of the Coordinate Plane Graphic Organizer
- Parts of the Coordinate Plane Magnets
- Graphing Ordered Pairs Graphic Organizer
- Kangaroo Coordinate Picture
- Coordinate Plane Fly Swatter Game
- DIY Shower Curtain Coordinate Plane
- Fly Activity for Graphing Ordered Pairs
- Parts of the Coordinate Plane Foldable
- Coordinate Plane Foldable