Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Zoo Coordinates

Cindy Jacobs


Students place animals at given coordinates on a zoo grid.


The student locates and identifies the coordinate points of objects on a coordinate grid (first quadrant).


-Markers or Crayons
-Index Cards
-Sticky Notes
-Animal Cookies or Stickers (optional)


1. Gather materials needed for the lesson.
2. Write each of the following coordinates on an index card: A1,A2,A3,A4,A5,B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,C1,C2,C3,C4,C5,D1,D2,D3,D4,D5,E1,E2,E3,E4,and E5.
3. Draw a large grid on chalkboard (see procedures).


1. Draw a large grid on the chalkboard with a total of 25 squares. Make it 5 x 5. Label the vertical grid lines A,B,C,D, and E. Label the horizontal grid lines 1,2,3,4, and 5. Write the word ZOO above the grid.

2. Give each student a small blank sticky note. Tell them to draw and color an animal that could be found in a zoo on it.

3. Explain that coordinates help us to locate places on a map. You may want to show students various maps with coordinates. Tell students that we will locate coordinates by first starting at the left hand corner, moving spaces to the right, and then spaces upward. Demonstrate this several times for students on the chalkboard grid. Discuss why it is important to always move spaces over first and then up (because you'll end up at a wrong location if you don't).

4. Next, shuffle the teacher made index cards that contain coordinates. Place them face down in a stack.

5. Give each student an index card that contains a coordinate.

6. Allow students to take turns placing his/her animal on the grid according to the given coordinate. Be careful to make sure students are placing animals on coordinate points, not just inside the boxes.

7. Continue until all coordinates are located.

8. Review the usefulness for learning coordinates (map skills) and how it relates to real life situations. Review the method (directional moves) for locating them.

9. Have students draw a grid on a sheet of paper like the one drawn on the chalkboard. You will probably want to remove the sticky note animals. Have them locate the following coordinates on their grid: B4, A2, D5, E1, C2, and D3. Tell students to mark these locations on their paper by drawing a star or other symbol of teacher's choice at the exact location. Collect papers for assessment purposes.

10. You may wish to reward students for their listening skills and a job well done with animal cookies or stickers


1. Mastery and non mastery will be informally based on student observation while they locate given coordinates.
2. Mastery and non mastery will be formally based on students correctly identifying and labeling 5 out of 6 coordinates (procedure #9) correctly.


You could use a variety of maps to relate the usefulness of coordinates to real life. The game Battleship could be a fun way to reinforce coordinates as a small group activity. Also, students could use geoboards with rubber bands to create shapes with given coordinates.
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