The Number Line: Nuts & Bolts (#271)


A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 271

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”

And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.” Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful.

As stated earlier, the ins and outs of the number line are quite complex.  It’s really best to build a solid foundation of 4 processes skills up through long multiplication and division, multiplication tables’ fluency, and a good, working grasp of fractions and decimals before even touching on the number line.

Math By Hand devotes an extensive section to the number line at the end of the Grade 4 binder.  After a detailed introduction, instructions are provided for creating number cards to be used on a large, red and black felt version of the number line.  The zero is placed in the center, with red representing negative numbers to the left and black, positive numbers to the right.

Students create cards divided into six groups of positive and negative whole numbers, fractions, and mixed numbers, then order the cards from lowest to highest value so they are easily found as needed.  Here’s an excerpt from the binder for getting started with the number line (note that this does not reflect the quality of the binder pages, as it’s slightly out of focus).

And then have some form drawing fun with this woven star, leprechaun, rainbow, and pot o’ gold!  (It’s from jamedaris’ weebly page.)



Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for the next in a series of posts on the Math By Hand number line lessons.


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