Graph papers are an ever present thing when you’re learning mathematics as a young student. Also called as Grid Paper or Squared Paper, a Graph Paper is a writing paper printed with fine lines, vertical and horizontal, making up a grid of numerous squares.

Graph papers are available as books or even as loose sheets of paper. Most mathematics and engineering classes have them in bundles as students use these sheets from engineering drawings to physics to designs.

The concept of a Graph Paper can be traced back to the 17th century period, when Roger Cotes used a square piece of paper with lines on it to plot and study various geometric shapes. However, graph paper started to get published commercially only in the late 18th century and the popularization of Graph Paper is attributed to Dr. Buxton of England.

Nearly a century later, Edward Moore from the University of Chicago advocated for the use of the now known Graph Paper or Squared Paper, which is heavily used in schools and universities. There are a few variations of the Graph Paper now available in various parts of the world and they are: Engineering Paper, Dot Grid Paper, Quad Paper, and more.

One can plot multiple graphs, geometric shapes, curves of various functions, and many mathematical concepts. A graph paper is only as good as the user, as it is the responsibility of the user to use it with correct legibility and accurate marking.

A UnicMinds student learning about mapping a circle with radius 2 on a simulated graph paper drawn with the center of the circle at -2,1 is shown below.

Understanding the geometry and dimensions of graph papers is fundamental to understanding and visualizing mathematics and geometry. Writing about the Graph paper brought back memories when we used to use so many other papers such as logarithmic paper, polar coordinate paper, and others, going to the lab or the engineering class at the last minute.

All students today will use the online versions of these papers and will undoubtedly miss the tension felt when we used to have only one paper to get things right in the exam. But, that’s how everything moves forward, through change.

Hope this is useful, thank you.

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