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1.11 Lengths and polygons in the coordinate plane


Remember that the coordinate plane can be used to describe the location of points in a 2D space.

By connecting 3 or more points on the coordinate plane with line segments, we can plot polygons. Plotting polygons on the coordinate plane will allow us to easily determine lengths and distances without needing a ruler.

A triangle on the coordinate plane

Later we will also look at how we can transform polygons on the coordinate plane.

Worked example

Question 1

Consider the point $Q$Q plotted on the coordinate plane.



a)  What are the coordinates of the point that is $6$6 units to the right and $8$8 units below $Q$Q?
Think: Starting at point $Q$Q with coordinates $\left(-4,3\right)$(4,3), we add $6$6 units to the $x$x-coordinate (because we are moving to the right), and subtract $8$8 units from the $y$y-coordinate (because we are moving downward).

Do: This gives $\left(-4+6,3-8\right)=\left(2,-5\right)$(4+6,38)=(2,5).

Start at $Q$Q, then move $6$6 units right and $8$8 units down.


b)  If point $R$R has the coordinates $\left(-4,-7\right)$(4,7), what is the distance between $Q$Q and $R$R?
Think: Notice that point $R$R has the same $x$x-coordinate as point $Q$Q. This means that the distance between the two points is given by the difference in the two $y$y-coordinates.

Do: So the distance is $3-\left(-7\right)=10$3(7)=10 units.

$Q$Q and $R$R have the same $x$x-coordinate.

Given a set of points, we may be asked what type of shape or polygon is formed. It can be very helpful to plot the points. From there you may need to calculate side lengths by counting squares or finding the difference in coordinates.

Practice questions

Question 2

What are the coordinates of the vertices of this quadrilateral?

Loading Graph...

  1. $A\left(\editable{},\editable{}\right)$A(,), $B\left(\editable{},\editable{}\right)$B(,), $C\left(\editable{},\editable{}\right)$C(,), $D\left(\editable{},\editable{}\right)$D(,)

Question 3

What is the distance between $A\left(-6,2\right)$A(6,2) and $B\left(-6,-7\right)$B(6,7)?



Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane. Include use of coordinates and absolute value to find distances between points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate.


Draw polygons in the coordinate plane given coordinates for the vertices; use coordinates to find the length of a side joining points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate. Apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

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