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This 57 page resource includes coordinate graphs for every letter of the alphabet (with a color version and a b/w version) to help kids practice graphing on a grid, develop proportional reasoning (using the different sizes of grids provided), and get used to identifying objects by their location (a great skill for coding in Scratch!).
Goal: In this activity, students will draw “pixel” letters based on a set of coordinates. Two sizes of grids are provided on each sheet so students can see the effect of enlarging an image without changing its pixel density; this lays the foundation for understanding proportional reasoning, a fundamental concept in Algebra. You can give students different letters to differentiate according to student ability—for example, the letter T is easier to draw than the letter S.
Students could work on the letters for their initials or spell out their name, or you could do a full class project where each student colors in one letter to spell out a phrase. (“Welcome to our class,” etc.) This would work well as a full class activity with discussions about any of the extension topics mentioned on the next page, or as a stand-alone math center activity. At the end of this packet, you will find a blank copy for students to create their own design, write the list of coordinates, and trade with a partner to re-create each other’s designs.
Example: Using each pair of letters/numbers in the “coordinates” chart, students will trace over from the letter on the right of the 9x9 grid and down from the number on top until they find the point of intersection. They will color in that box and then repeat the process with each subsequent set of coordinates, checking them off as they go. (They can use all one color or a combination of colors.)
Skills: This activity prepares students for applications across several subject areas. The following list identifies skills that are directly related to this Pixel Alphabet activity; by practicing filling in points on coordinate grids like the ones in the packet, students will be well-prepared to understand the following topics:
Pre-Algebra and Algebra:
-Plotting points on a coordinate grid
-Interpreting and creating graphs of equations
-Understanding the role pixels play in the visual images we see on a screen
-Writing code to move characters to new coordinates
(The computer coding program, Scratch, is a great example of this!)
(Or does this fall in the “History” category now? ;) )
-Understanding how an image from a photograph can look pixelated when it gets enlarged;
-Using the grid enlargement technique to re-create a drawing in different sizes
(example: A drawing or photograph can be accurately painted on the side of a building by “transferring” the picture one square at a time.)
-Battleship - identifying points on a grid
Note: Although some of these situations make use of an x-y coordinate grid instead of one with letters on one side and numbers on the other, this exercise of plotting points will still prepare students for the Algebraic and coding applications when they encounter them later on.
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