Banana Cake


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in using grid references to solve a problem.

Achievement Objectives
GM3-5: Use a co-ordinate system or the language of direction and distance to specify locations and describe paths.
Description of Mathematics

The background knowledge and skills that should be established before and/or during this activity are outlined in the diagram below:

Click to show example questions for each heading

This activity may be carried out with step by step guidance, or by allowing the student to follow their own method of solution. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students' skills and depth of understanding.


A supermarket has its shelves laid out in a plan that uses a battleships style grid reference based on letters A to N across and 1 to 20 down.

It has stock in the following places:
Dairy A1-E1,
Frozen food A2-A14,
Dinner Ingredients I3-I17 and K3-K17,
Deli F1-H1,
Meat I1-N1,
Fruit and Vegetables L3-L12 and N2-N12,
Specials L13-L17 and N13-N17,
Snacks and Junk F3-F17 and H3-H17,
Magazines A15-A17, Hardware,
Cleaning and Pet food C10-C17 and E10-E17.

The entrance space makes a rectangle with L18 and N20 being opposite corners.
The check-out area makes a rectangle with A18 and K20 being opposite corners.
There is also shelf space for baking products.

  • Suggest grid references for where the baking products (including eggs) will be located.
  • If you wanted to walk the shortest distance in the supermarket to get the following ingredients needed for a banana cake, what order would you purchase these ingredients in? Butter, flour, milk, eggs, bananas and M&Ms.

The procedural approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to use battleships style grid references, with guidance, to solve a problem.

The conceptual approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to use battleships style grid references to solve a problem.
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Level Three