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Coordinate Battleships

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activity of the week 3 gcse key skills.p

Key Skills and Concepts

Optimise GCSE Performance

Topics covered:

Problem Solving

Spacial Reasoning

Coordinates (in all 4 quadrants)

Equipment needed:

2 print outs of the image below or an electronic version that you can write on/edit (you could open it in Microsoft Paint or a photo editor on a tablet). You will need one copy per player though.

Or you could just use some squared paper and draw you own coordinate grid.


This activity will help with problem solving and spacial awareness on a much higher level than regular Battle Ships and also uses a 4 quadrant coordinate grid which helps practice key skills used in the GCSE exams.

Set up: Each player carefully draws the red shapes on their own top grid. Do not let your opponent see where you hide them.

To Play: This is basically the same as regular Battle Ships. When it is your turn, you say a set of coordinates. Eg (4,-3). Your opponent then checks their own top grid and see if you have hit one of their ships or not. If you hit a ship, you get another go. If not it is your opponent's turn to try and hit one of your ships.

Scoring: You get one point for each hit and a bonus point for each ship you sink. Play for a set number of turns (15-20 each works well) and then count up your points.

Please watch the video of the lesson in which we play this game if you are not sure how to play. It starts at about 15 minutes in. LESSON LINK

Key Questions to ask:

"Have you definitely got your coordinates the right way round?" (ie they could easily say (3,-4) when they mean (-4,3)

"Which possible shape could you have hit?"

"What if my ship is hidden along the x or y axis?"

"Where would the coordinate (0,4) be?"

"Where would the coordinate (4,0) be?"

"Where would the coordinate (0,-4) be?"

"Where would the coordinate (-4,0) be?"


As well as the problem solving elements of this game in terms of working out which ship has been hit and where the to fire your next shot you need to try and be strict on the coordinates said by you and your opponent. Remember we always say the x coordinate first and then the y coordinate (along the corridor and up the stairs). If your child says (-4, 5) when they mean (5,-4) do not go easy on them! This is war and every shot counts and more importantly they will not get a second chance if they put the wrong coordinate down in their GCSE exam!

Coordinates on the x and y axis are commonly misread too so try and put your ships there and test your child on those coordinates.




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