ALEX Lesson Plan


Michael Phelps.... or not?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Summer Johnson
System: Roanoke City
School: Roanoke City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:CCRS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33183


Michael Phelps.... or not?


This lesson is created to have students compare themselves to Michael Phelps and the features that make him such a good swimmer. Students will measure their height and arm span and graph them on a coordinate graph. Students will then compare their height and arm span to their classmates' to see who might be the best swimmer in the class!

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 6
11. Find the position of pairs of integers and other rational numbers on the coordinate plane.

a. Identify quadrant locations of ordered pairs on the coordinate plane based on the signs of the x and y coordinates.

b. Identify (a,b) and (a,-b) as reflections across the x-axis.

c. Identify (a,b) and (-a,b) as reflections across the y-axis.

d. Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane, including finding distances between points with the same first or second coordinate.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Create and interpret coordinate axes with positive and negative coordinates.
  • Given ordered pairs made up of rational numbers, locate and explain the placement of the ordered pair on a coordinate plane.
  • Given two ordered pairs that differ only by signs, locate the points on a coordinate plane and explain the relationship of the locations of the points as reflections across one or both axes.
  • Given real-world and mathematical problems where a coordinate graph will aid in the solution and given a graph of a real-world or mathematical situation, interpret the coordinate values of the points in the context of the situation including finding vertical and horizontal distances.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Coordinate plane
  • Quadrants
  • Coordinate values
  • ordered pairs
  • x axis
  • y axis
  • Reflection
Students know:
  • Strategies for creating coordinate graphs.
  • Strategies for finding vertical and horizontal distance on coordinate graphs.
Students are able to:
  • Graph points corresponding to ordered pairs,
  • Represent real-world and mathematical problems on a coordinate plane.
  • Interpret coordinate values of points in the context of real-world/mathematical situations.
  • Determine lengths of line segments on a coordinate plane when the line segment joins points with the same first coordinate (vertical distance) or the same second coordinate (horizontal distance).
Students understand that:
  • A graph can be used to illustrate mathematical situations and relationships. These representations help in conceptualizing ideas and in solving problems,
  • Distances on lines parallel to the axes on a coordinate plane are the same as the related distance on the axis (number line).
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.6.11.1: Define quadrant, coordinate plane, coordinate axes (x-axis and y-axis), horizontal, vertical, and reflection.
M.6.11.2: Demonstrate an understanding of an extended coordinate plane.
M.6.11.3: Draw a four-quadrant coordinate plane.
M.6.11.4: Draw and extend vertical and horizontal number lines.
M.6.11.5: Interpret graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane in real-world situations.
M.6.11.6: Recall how to graph points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane.
M.6.11.7: Define ordered pairs.
M.6.11.8: Name the pairs of integers and/or rational numbers of a point on a coordinate plane.
M.6.11.9: Demonstrate when two ordered pairs differ only by signs, the locations of the points are related by reflections across one or both axes.
M.6.11.10: Identify which signs indicate the location of a point in a coordinate plane.
M.6.11.11: Recall how to plot ordered pairs on a coordinate plane.
M.6.11.12: Define reflections.
M.6.11.13: Calculate the distances between points having the same first or second coordinate using absolute value.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Model writing ordered pairs.
  • Identify the x- and y- values in ordered pairs.
  • Label the vertical axis (y).
  • Label the horizontal axis (x).
  • Define ordered pair of numbers, quadrant one, coordinate plane, and plot points.
  • Locate positive numbers on a vertical number line.
    Examples: thermometer, map.
  • Locate positive numbers on a horizontal number line.
  • Locate negative numbers on a horizontal number line.
  • Label x- and y-axis and zero on a coordinate.
  • Illustrate vertical and horizontal number lines.
  • Specify locations on the coordinate system.
  • Define x-axis, y-axis, and zero on a coordinate.
  • Define ordered pair of numbers.
  • Locate positive numbers on a horizontal number line.
  • Locate negative numbers on a horizontal number line.
  • Define symmetry.
  • Identify lines of symmetry on one-dimensional figures.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.6.11 Graph or identify ordered pairs in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane between 0 and 5, limited to whole numbers.

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 6
22. Write examples and non-examples of statistical questions, explaining that a statistical question anticipates variability in the data related to the question.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Given a variety of mathematical questions,
  • Justify the classification of questions as either statistical or non-statistical.
  • Write statistical and non-statistical questions.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Statistical questions
  • Variability
Students know:
  • Characteristics of statistical and non-statistical questions.
Students are able to:
  • Justify the classification of mathematical questions as statistical or non-statistical questions.
Students understand that:
  • Statistical questions have anticipated variability in the answers.
  • Data are the numbers produced in response to a statistical question.
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.6.22.1: Define statistical question.
M.6.22.2: Identify examples of statistical questions and non-statistical questions.
M.6.22.3: Compare and contrast statistical questions and non- statistical questions.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Identify different types of questions.
  • Recognize questions that produce numerical answers.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.6.23 Find the range and median (when given an odd number of data points), and mean (involving one or two-digit numbers) in real-world situations.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will measure, plot, and compare their height and arm span using coordinate graph.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Michael Phelps article link
Chart paper
Tape Measure

This book can be purchased with other data and statistics resources. Extensions to this lesson are included in this text. 

Technology Resources Needed:

Student computers




1.  If students have access to computers, link the article to teacher webpage or share the link in a document. 

Have students open the link and view the pictures and read the article about Michael Phelps. If the students do not have access to computers, the teacher will read the article to the students while showing a picture of Michael Phelps. The article discusses the features that make Michael such a good swimmer, his height and arm span comparison.

2.  Host a class discussion about these features and how they could make someone a better swimmer.

3.  Ask the statistical question, "Are my classmates like Michael Phelps?"


1.  Students will be broken into small groups based on teacher preference.

2.  Each group will be given a tape measure and a piece of chart paper.

3.  Students will take turns measuring each other's heights and arm span while writing the data on a piece of paper. 


1.  The students will be required to create a coordinate grid on the graph paper. Each person in the group will receive a different color marker.

2.  Students should write their name as well as their ordered pair (height, arm span) on the back of the chart paper in the color marker they are using.

3.  Each student is required to plot their own height and arm span in their color on the graph paper. (Make sure you specify whether the height will represent x or y. Armspan will represent the other.) 


Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed based on the ordered pair they plotted on the graph. The teacher will be checking for accuracy of the ordered pair written beside their name and the plot the graphed. Each student will be held accountable for their own grade because each student has done their own work in his designated color.


Have students collaborate in their group to determine who might be the most like Michael Phelps in the group. Would this person be a good swimmer?



View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.