Number Line Concepts

Image by:   D. Rizzuti


Lately, I’ve been having conversations with colleagues regarding how to communicate number line concepts in the classroom.  Specifically, I’ve been giving examples of how understanding number lines may lead to a more stable mathematical foundation. In the past, my class has created various products related to the number line.  My original inspiration came from this number line below.

The project in this post emphasizes the idea that percents, fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals are all related  This basic understanding helps develop number sense skills.  Here are the generic steps for this project:

  • Students cut out percents, decimals, percents, and fractions out of the template
  • Students draw a number line on a piece of construction paper
  • Students glue/tape each number on the number line

Here are a few sample photos (click to enlarge):

The project seems simple, right?  Well … it took about 20 minutes for the cutting, coloring, and gluing.  I then facilitated a classroom discussion after the number lines were presented.  The math curiosity (I really like that term) and discussion that followed the project seemed beneficial.  It’s truly amazing to see what type of concepts can be discussed when observing the number line through a variety of lenses.  Our conversations touched on the concepts of absolute value, positive/negative numbers, fractions and mixed number conversions, addition of negative numbers, and place value.  In fact, the math conversation lasted 30+ minutes.  Having these types of “math chats’ with third graders was a phenomenal learning experience.  All of the concepts discussed will be introduced later in their academic career, and hopefully I gave my students a quick preview to what is to come.