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Excel Math Blog

Monday, February 23, 2015

Using Number Lines

Using number lines in the math classroom can help your students visualize math concepts and learn some new problem-solving techniques.

Here's a simple number line showing the numbers 0 to 20 from Excel Math.

number line 1 - 20

Draw this number line on your white board or post it on your wall.

Also use masking tape to create this number line on your class floor.

Your students can stand on a life-size number line to show greater than and less than.

Choose a number and ask a student to stand on it on the floor number line.

Have another student circle the number on the white board.

While the first student remain on his number, choose a new number and ask a second student to stand on it.

Have the remaining students show you which number is smaller by using their fingers to make a "greater than" or "less than" sign. (Have them form a peace sign or V with two fingers and then turn it sideways so the point of the V points to the smaller number.)

If your students are learning fractions, next use the half inch number line shown at right.

fractions on a number line
Excel Math Fractions on a number line 

adding on a number line

Excel Math Adding on a number line

You can download a free Number Line worksheet from the Downloads section of our website and give one to each student.

Here's a simple addition problem shown on a number line from Excel Math.

Let your students move around on the number line to show addition.

Write on the board: 3 + 1 =

Have a student step from 0 to number 3 on the floor number line.

Ask the class how many more the student will need to move to show adding 1 to 3.

Have the student move that many (one) to show the problem. Then ask the class what the solution will be: 3 + 1 = 4

Have another student show the problem on the white board number line as shown with the green arrows above.

You can also show negative numbers on the number line. Here they are in red.

Let your students write and solve more number line math problems as they have time.

Number Line Free Printable page
Excel Math Number Line showing positive and negative numbers


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You might also like these articles:

Ten Tax Tips for Educators

Excel Math: Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Math Placement Tests

Five Steps to Solving Word Problems

Excel Math: TEKS Aligned and STAAR Ready

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on the products page of our website:

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