X and Y Axis Art

Did you know?
A coordinate grid has two perpendicular lines, or axes, labeled like number lines. The horizontal axis is called the x-axis. The vertical axis is called the y-axis. The rhyme X to the left and Y to the sky will help you remember which direction X and Y go. The point where the x-axis and y-axis intersect is called the origin. Positive numbers go up and to the right from the origin. Negative numbers go down and to the left of the origin.

Coordinates are used everyday in the creation of maps. Mapmakers use X and Y coordinate to pinpoint a certain location on the map.



  • Graph paper (internet search “free graph paper”)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Coloring materials, optional

In the center of the graph paper, draw an x and y axis, 10 squares in each direction. Label the points on the axis 1-10 in the positive direction and -1 - -10 in the negative direction.

Using a ruler, draw a straight line from 10 on the y axis to 1 on the x axis. Then draw a line from 9 on the y axis to 2 on the x axis, 8 to 3, 7 to 4, 6 to 5, 5 to 6, 4 to 7, 3 to 8, 2 to 9 and 1 to 10.

Repeat this pattern in the quadrant below: Connect the 10 on the x axis to -1 on the y axis, 9 to -2, 8 to -3, 7 to -4, 6 to -5, 5 to -6, 4 to-7, 3 to -8, 2 to -9, and 1 to -10.

Repeat this in the quadrant to the left: Connect the -10 on the y axis to -1 on the x axis, -9 to -2, -8 to -3, -7 to -4, -6 to -5, -5 to -6, -4 to-7, -3 to -8, -2 to -9, and -1 to -10.

Repeat this pattern in the remaining quadrant: Connect the 10 on the y axis to -1 on the x axis, 9 to -2, 8 to -3, 7 to -4, 6 to -5, 5 to -6, 4 to-7, 3 to -8, 2 to -9, and 1 to -10.

If you wish, color the lines or the “checkerboard pattern”


Do you see the quarter circle formed by the intersecting lines in each quadrant? Continue the pattern to make a circle by making new axes using the point beyond 10 and -10 (this would be 11 and -11) as new points of origin.

Try this without graph paper. Use a ruler to mark off evenly spaced points. One way to start off evenly is to fold the paper in half in both directions and use the fold lines for the first set of axes.


This program has been designed for you to share with your child. Read the material together, ask questions and encourage your child to ask questions. Then nurture their curious mind by doing the activities with them. Books included are available via CPL’s digital library (with a library card).