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Lesson Plans

Distance formula between two points on a coordinate plane

Author Information

Author: Phil Mazurowski - s_pjmazurows@clarion.edu
Organization: Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Lesson Plan Information

Subject: Math
Category: General
Grade Level: Seventh - Tenth
Duration: 30-40 minutes


The students will play a revised version of "Battleship" to discover the distance formula between two points.


The students will be able to find the distance between two points on a coordinate plane.


The students will find the battleships on the board. The students will be able to find the distance between two points on a coordinate plane.

Educational Resources:

Battleship gameboard (a coordinate system on poster board), board, chalk

Reference Materials:

Activity Plan:

Explain to the students that we are going to play Battleship but it will be a little different from the original version. In this version,the students are based at a certain point (ex. (2,3)) you (the teacher) have picked 3 or 4 points on the board that are your ships, and the student have to guess where they are. But they don't win when they find the points. They only have missles that will travel an exact distance that you program it to, so the students have to find how far it is from their base to the ships in order to hit them with a missle. To have the students discover how to do this, draw a right triangle on the board and review the Pythagorean Theorem. Ask how they can use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between the points. (The rise will be one leg of the triangle, and the run will be the other leg, then they solve for the hypotenuse, which is the distance between the points). Give the students a general formula for finding the distance between any two points and then use that formula to find the distances between the students base and the ships on the gameboard.

Method of Learning:

Group discussion, revised "Battleship" game


On a quiz or homework, ask the students to find the distance between two given points.


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