Last week I wrote about a floor-sized number line that creates endless possibilities  for mathematic-related activities in the classroom.  Later that same day, I found this one that is just different enough that I thought I should write about it as well.

It is pretty big just like the other one, but this one only goes from 0-10.  It offers a different set of mathematical possibilities because of its design differences.  You can see that this one has large numerals and a corresponding number of objects next to each.

There are aspects of this number line that might make more sense to young children.  It only goes up to 10, but the inclusion of “0” complicated matters.  Children generally learn to count beginning with “1” not “0”.  It is also hard to illustrate nothing as the absence of objects is supposed to indicate. You and I can understand that the empty space around the number “0” indicates nothing, but I don’t think young children will.

If I were to make a jumbo number line for my classroom, I would take aspects of this one and aspects of the other, put those together to create the perfect (and appropriate) prototype.

Keep the large, easy-to-read numbers but begin with 1.  Make the number line 6 units long and then add-on units as children develop stronger number sense.  Provide other context clues, ideally removable, so the line can change as needed.  It might be nice to have objects, like in the example above, but it might also be nice to have “pips” like dots on a die, to indicate the number.  It would be cool if the units could be arranged to create a circle or to go around a corner.  That way, if space was an issue, the line could be used on an area rug.

What would you do to create the perfect prototype?

## 12 Replies to “Another Number Line”

1. Ellen says:

Hmmmmm!

This would be an interesting project for our class – we are making rulers today as part of our study – and will definitely refer to this blog as idea for extensions on the activity –

We will also take the time to reflect on this activity in our weekly class journal –

Dear, Jen.
I fully agree with your idea about modifying the number line. I too was thinking while I was reading your blog that I would love to have a flexible number line (jigsaw puzzle like) where the children can construct and deconstruct it, and play with it any way they find enjoyable. Number line activities provide the little ones not only with opportunities to learn Math while having fun and playing but also promote their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their social skills development. Furthermore, having removable units can also help children master the concept of odd and even numbers, skip-counting or counting backwards.
Unfortunately, I can’t quite comment on the children’s difficulty to grasp the concept of zero based on my personal experience, but I felt that the creator of this particular number line did a good job with representing it. Maybe this can be used as a chance to introduce the children to the idea of “zero = nothing”, or if it’s too hard for them to get it the ZERO box could be used as a START box.
My idea of a perfect prototype will also include colorful units with the numbers in different colors and large font. Nevertheless, I will add two more separate units attachable to the number unit: one with pictures and/or dots the same amount as the number and the second one I’ll leave blank. The blank unit will serve for an activity where the children would go around the room and pick different/same object to put on it that add up to the number attached to it. This activity can also help introduce the idea of big and small: how many big or small pieces can fit on the unit? What do we do if there is not enough room? Which pile is bigger? Why can the pile on 2 be bigger than the one on 4 if we have used smaller objects for 4 and larger for 2? There will be many possibilities for counting, sorting and organizing by type, color, number, etc. Other games can be played around the line, such as hopscotch, Simon says, jumping as many times as the number indicates, running to a number or picture unit when a number is drawn from a bowl or number of claps are made from the teacher, solving Math problems, etc. The activities around the number line can be made very interactive and offer countless possibilities for extension into foreign language acquisition, teamwork, creativity, physical development, decision making and problem solving, only to name a few. The opportunities to learn are limited only by the teacher’s and child’s imagination and desire to learn and play.

2. Jasmine Quintana says:

The math and science moment I found in this blog was introducing the number zero to children because as it mentions most children learn how to count from one to ten not from zero to ten. It may be confusing for a lot of children, but that is why this is a good activity for children to learn number sense. You can use different items that interest children and place them on the numbers and even do like a hop skotch and have them count the items on each number as they hop which will encourage physical activity as well and make it fun for children.

3. Nicolemarie Benavidez says:

I like this math blog the reason I like this blog is this is an activitiy that is good for children to do inside a classroom . you can create many different ways to make a number line . Also can use many different materials to complete ths assigment . There are different ways to show children how to add numbers and you can show them to how to make their own on a piece of paper. By reading this blog was very intersting because you can create one of these number line in your own class room.

4. Dear, Jen.
I fully agree with your idea about modifying the number line. I too was thinking while I was reading your blog that I would love to have a flexible number line (jigsaw puzzle like) where the children can construct and deconstruct it, and play with it any way they find enjoyable. Number line activities provide the little ones not only with opportunities to learn Math while having fun and playing but also promote their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their social skills development. Furthermore, having removable units can also help children master the concept of odd and even numbers, skip-counting or counting backwards.
Unfortunately, I can’t quite comment on the children’s difficulty to grasp the concept of zero based on my personal experience, but I felt that the creator of this particular number line did a good job with representing it. Maybe this can be used as a chance to introduce the children to the idea of “zero = nothing”, or if it’s too hard for them to get it the ZERO box could be used as a START box.
My idea of a perfect prototype will also include colorful units with the numbers in different colors and large font. Nevertheless, I will add two more separate units attachable to the number unit: one with pictures and/or dots the same amount as the number and the second one I’ll leave blank. The blank unit will serve for an activity where the children would go around the room and pick different/same object to put on it that add up to the number attached to it. This activity can also help introduce the idea of big and small: how many big or small pieces can fit on the unit? What do we do if there is not enough room? Which pile is bigger? Why can the pile on 2 be bigger than the one on 4 if we have used smaller objects for 4 and larger for 2? There will be many possibilities for counting, sorting and organizing by type, color, number, etc. Other games can be played around the line, such as hopscotch, Simon says, jumping as many times as the number indicates, running to a number or picture unit when a number is drawn from a bowl or number of claps are made from the teacher, solving Math problems, etc. The activities around the number line can be made very interactive and offer countless possibilities for extension into foreign language acquisition, teamwork, creativity, physical development, decision making and problem solving, only to name a few. The opportunities to learn are limited only by the teacher’s and child’s imagination and desire to learn and play.

1. Jen says:

These are such interesting ideas. I love the idea of flexibility with a material, especially if it fits together intuitively. Using it like hopscotch is brilliant. Seems like the possibilities are endless for this.

Reworking the number line definitely seems like a great possibility especially to enhance children\’s understanding with visuals.

6. Laura says:

I really like the idea. I am going to have to set something up like this. My class will love having something bigger in the room to count on.

1. Jen says:

7. debra rubio says:

Hopscotch puzzle pieces are similar to what I would create but with all 4 sides being puzzle edges instead of straight. I would also have extra ones and matching extra numerals to make 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15, at the least, so I could introduce those numbers as being 10 and 1, 10 and 2, and so on

8. diya says:

this is a fantastic idea. specially if i can make it big enough and make it into a game. and we can play with animals, dolls, balls and placing it on the mat to go with the numbers it would really be a fun game for the children

9. Citlaly Camargo says:

with the number line, it will help the preschooler with the visuals as well, it seems like a very interesting way to help children.