Polar Coordinates

Graphing outside of the Cartesian plane is a unique challenge for many students, particularly the part where they need to convert (x, y) coordinates into polar form. Enter this lesson and corresponding worksheet covering the basics of the polar coordinate system. A brief summary of the rules and steps for each section keeps learners focused, while the gently scaffolded problems allow for practice on one skill before introducing another. An included bonus for any polar graphing unit is the blank polar graph paper PDF.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Additional Tags
Instructional Ideas
  • Great review lesson to leave as a substitute plan after polar coordinates are introduced
  • Have learners create problems modeled off of these for one another as a partner exercise
  • Consider breaking the problems apart to use as review exercises or bell-ringers
Classroom Considerations
  • Main resource presentation matches the additional Note Sheets student worksheet
  • Presentation PDF would make for an excellent interactive whiteboard presentation, with steps revealed as the problem is worked
  • Additional PDF resource of polar graph paper is quite useful to provide students throughout any polar coordinate lesson
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website.It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • Clear directions and review steps given for each section of problems
  • Presentation works all student worksheet problems step by step
  • Worksheet sections build in complexity and skills required
  • The additional resource Polar Coordinates Worksheet actually links to a unrelated worksheet on graphing exponential and logarithmic functions
Common Core