Number lines are another versatile resource for classroom math teachers. Since numbers are both abstract entities with no physical existence and infinite in extent, helping students to understand them is essential if they are to make sense of the math they learn in school. Thankfully, unlike resources such as place value blocks or counters, number lines are capable of representing any finite number.

Number Lines

In this podcast, a basic discussion of number lines and their usefulness is supplemented by examples for each of the basic operations. The video version of the podcast includes graphics to illustrate each example.

One significant benefit from using number lines is the flexible ways they can be used, helping students to develop their skill in mentally picturing quantities and operations on them. Don’t try to force students to use number lines in a rigid, teacher-directed way, but ask students to come up with their own representations.

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