Mr. Keller’s Legendary Mapping FSI on a Coordinate Plane Project

Mr. Keller’s Legendary Mapping FSI on a Coordinate Plane Project


I recently had the opportunity to tag along with Franklin’s 6th grade mathematicians and their teacher, Mr. Charlie Keller, on a mission to map our school campus.  Mapping FSI on a Coordinate Plane Project has become a “legendary” annual event in Mr. Keller’s class, as students apply what they’ve learned about rational numbers and ordered pairs in a real world context.  This complex math project engages students as Cartographers in practicing multiple skills:

  • plotting coordinates & using spatial reasoning and estimation;
  • calculating coordinates based upon these observations
  • documenting this data with precision on a coordinate plane to create an accurate and detailed map of our campus.  


Mr. Keller shared a collection of past mapping projects to give students examples of high quality work.  Maps from the two previous years document the growing complexity of this task, as our campus buildings are added!  Even Mr. Keller expressed some astonishment, from the “bird’s eye” perspective, atop Mt. Franklin, at the expansion of buildings to be plotted on this year’s map.  As our school grows, and our campus map changes, these maps will become archives of our origin points!

Learning Targets for the project help students check for understanding and mastery of math concepts.  

I can explain the concept of rational numbers.

I can explain the relationship between the location of a number (on a number line or coordinate plane) and its sign.

I can locate and plot rational numbers on a number line (horizontal and vertical) and a coordinate plane.

I can explain the order and absolute value of rational numbers in real-world contexts.

I can graph points in all four quadrants of a coordinate plane.

I can find distances between points using my knowledge of coordinates and absolute value.

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