Counter-ClockWise Coordinate Graphs
Name: Jennifer B.
Why do coordinate graphs go counter-clockwise?
I do not have a good answer. I think it is just convention because somewhere in the haze
of history someone decided '+ X' is to the right and '+Y' is up. It is just a convention.
I do not know for certain. If it is like so many other things in math, it was just a
preference of the first people to do graphs. The first number lines would have been
like ours, positive to the right. When adding on the vertical (or y) axis, they would
have made up be positive. They would also have started things on the axis they had first,
the x-axis. Graphs would then go to the new axis, the y-axis. This makes a counter-clockwise
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012