# The Number Line: Why Wait Until Grade 4? (#270)

A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 270

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.

Focusing on the basics (the 4 processes up through long multiplication and division, multiplication tables’ fluency, factoring, fractions, and decimals) before embarking on the complexities of the number line makes sense.  Zero, positive and negative numbers, and using the 4 processes with the number line is best reserved until there’s sufficient capacity for understanding.

The Math By Hand Grade 4 / Kit 4 / Integers and Algebra presents these concepts with clear learning aids and tools that are oversized, colorful, and incremental.  Beginning with the history of numbers is an excellent lead-in to our Arabic numeral system, most specifically the role of zero in relation to positive and negative numbers or integers.  A brief history of numbers is presented in booklet form, along with basic rules for number line calculation.

Here are two suggested captioned drawings, “The Story of Zero” and “Tokens, Pictographs, and Cuneiform.” that can be taken from a detailed but anecdotal and biographical history of our modern system of numbers.

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.