Strategy

Number Line

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

A number line is visual line where every point along the line represents a real number. A number line can start or end with any number, but is assumed to extend towards infinity in either direction. As one moves along the number line from left to right, the values of the numbers increase or decrease. Any number that is to the right of zero is a positive number and any number to the left of zero is a negative number. Students can use number lines to understand math concepts such as adding and subtracting, positive and negative integers, fractions, greater than, less than, etc. Number lines can also be used for understanding early number sense such as counting and comparing whole numbers.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Activity

Fraction Line Drag Race

Engaging and differentiated classroom activity that allows students to apply their understanding of partitioning fraction lines and placing fractions on the line by modeling a drag race. Students first select 3 different cars with different "speeds" (unit fractions). Then they partition and label each car's drag strip (number line) based on the unit fraction of the car. They play the game by rolling a die and advancing each car forward. A provided data sheet has them record each cars position on the fraction line after each roll. Differentiation resources are included such as pre-labeled number lines and video hook to build engagement and background knowledge.

Grade 3 · Math · 13 pages


Reference Tool

Blank Number Line

Blank number line that can be customized according to specific content or used for student practice.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Math · 1 pages


Reference Tool

Decimal Number Lines

Decimal number lines that can be printed for classroom use. Number lines can be used to compare and order decimals.

Grade 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Math · 1 pages


Reference Tool

Fractions Number Lines

Fraction number lines that can be printed for classroom use. Number lines can be used to compare and order fractions.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Math · 1 pages


Reference Tool

Positive and Negative Integers Number Lines

A set of printable number lines displaying positive and negative integers. Number lines can be used to support students in problem solving and when ordering integers.

Grade 6, 7, 8 · Math · 2 pages


Reference Tool

Whole Numbers: Number Lines

A set of printable number lines that are ready for classroom use. Includes number lines with whole numbers ranging from 0-100 and 0-20.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Math · 3 pages


Implementation Tips

Manipulatives
Sometimes manipulatives such as a small car, dinosaur figure or game pieces can be moved along the number line as the student is learning to solve mathematical problems. This helps some students learn positive and negative directions as well as the concepts of addition and subtraction.
Accessibility
Number lines can be made readily available for students to use or refer to (e.g. at the top of a mathematical worksheet, in a laminated number line in math binder or posted on the wall).
Color-Coding
Color-coding can be useful when using number lines for teaching specific concepts. For example, all positive integers can be labeled in black and all negative integers in red.

Examples

Adding & Subtracting Integers
1. Start with an example 5 + 8 = ___. 2. Student locates the number 5 on the number line 3. Starting from the number 5, student counts 8 units to the right (positive direction) 4. Student lands on the number 13 thus finding the solution for 5 + 8 = 13 5. When working on subtraction problems, students learn the concept of taking away or moving in the negative direction (left) along the number line in order to subtract.
Fractions
A number line can be used when students are learning about fractions. Large ticks can represent whole numbers and equally-spaced smaller ticks can represent parts of the whole numbers (e.g. 1/4, 1/10, etc). Students can learn how to find the fraction on the number line (e.g. 5/4 or 1 ¼) as well as determine what the points on the number line represent (e.g. the point that is equidistant between 0 and 1 is ½).
Comparing Values of Numbers
When comparing two numbers, students can refer to the number line to determine whether a number is greater than or less than another number. Using a number line is also useful when comparing positive and negative numbers.