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Teaching Adding & Subtracting: The Number Line

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Help struggling young learners use the number line as a tool to add and subtract virtually. This activity will explain how to teach addition and subtraction on the number line during virtual, remote, or distance learning.

There are two things that I just absolutely love in math and that's triangles and number lines.

Why do I love triangles? Well...because it's the only shape that can be manipulated and still be called by it's original name!

If you stretch a circle, it becomes an oval.

If you stretch a square, it becomes a plethora of things like a rectangle, rhombus, trapezoid, etc.

That's besides the point, let's focus on what you came here for...number lines!

I love number lines because they are use just as versatile as a stretched square!

From first grade to university, literally EVERY student uses a number line at least once during their academic year.

In the upper elementary grade number lines are used to practice elapsed time while in middle school number lines appears on coordinated planes in order to find the slope intercept (sorry for triggering any horrible pre-algebra flashbacks).

In first grade specifically, number lines are a great hands on tool to help learners with adding and subtracting.

Combined with the count on strategy that I shared in my previous post Count Math-Ulaaaa! , the number line can help students become very fluent with solving addition and subtraction equations.

This is the perfect intervention tool for students who may be struggling with this skill.

Watch the video below to learn how you can support students with using the number line virtually!

Want to give this intervention a try with your students? Grab the tools I used in the video by clicking here or the image below.

If you're supporting students in a face-to-face setting you can still use this resource since each task card can be printed!

I do recommend providing the learner with a physical manipulative such as a counting bear, bean, nail polish, etc. so that they can identify the starting point and the ending points for their equations.


Miss D. Gunn


Want some more math fun? Check out my other math activities that can offer more interactive math practice for young learners! Click the images below for a closer look.

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