Ever since I first saw this xkcd cartoon, I wanted to use it in a lesson. I finally put that together this year. I used the cartoon as a way to help convey the idea that points on a coordinate plane are a way to easily visualize the relationship between two different variables. The purpose of the numbers is simply to quantify those relationships, if such a quantification is necessary. I then had students make their own graphs for homework, with variables of their choice. If I had more time to spare, it would have been nice to do this in class (and the outcome would have been better, I think).

This lesson (Unit 4, Lesson 5) and others can be found in my box.com widget to the left. I recently updated Algebra 1, Units 3 and 4.

Here are some examples of the students' work.

Graphing Tangent and Cotangent

13 hours ago

## 6 comments:

I love this idea :) I'll see what I can do with it in my classroom... I fear for the worst, though (x axis, "girls I've gotten with" ... y-axis, "level of hotness").

Or, you can go the other direction and make that into the lesson. See dy/dan's Crazy v. Hot lesson. :)

Cool! Reminds me of Jessica's work at http://thisisindexed.com/

Yeah - she has one like this that is funny, but unfortunately not that appropriate for class.

This is really funny and great! Much better way to get the concept into kids heads by making it a fun project. Really cool!

I just blogged on the subject of the coordinate plane, but did not have such a fun project to go along with the video in my post. Thanks for sharing!

http://blog.thinkwell.com/2010/07/prealgebra-the-coordinate-plane.html

I've done this in the past, but I like your follow-up of pupils choosing the variables.

Also, the movies one is a great example of correllation!

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