After some time, I came up with the Interactive Number Line.

You may be asking, “How can I make my own?” I am so glad you asked because it is pretty simple.

__Materials Needed:__

- Painter’s Tape
- Benchmark Numbers printed on card stock or index cards
- Ziplock bag to store Student Numbers
- Student Numbers printed on card stock or written on post-it notes

__How to Create an Interactive Number Line:__

1 – Use a long strip of painter’s tape to form a vertical number line on the wall

2 – Use smaller strips to create hash marks for benchmark numbers

3 – Place benchmark numbers next to each of the hash marks using number cards or sticky notes

__What is the Purpose of the Interactive Number Line?__

__Ways to use the Number Line:__

Counting and understanding relationships between numbers are very important math concepts. Number lines can be used to focus on small bands of numbers.

- Kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers can focus on the number bands 0 through 20, using 0, 5,10, 15, 20 as benchmarks
- 2nd – 3rd-grade teachers can focus on number bands 0 – 1000, using 10s, 100s or multiples of 25 as benchmarks
- 4th – 5th-grade teachers can focus on multi-digit whole numbers, decimals or fractions

__How Can I Use Interactive Number Lines with Lower Grade Students?__

__How Can I Use Interactive Number Lines with Upper Grade Students?__

__3 Things to Consider when Using Interactive Number Lines:__

- Start by having the students make sense of the number line. It was helpful when the kids plotted the benchmark or friendly numbers within the number band before placing the Student Cards on the line. For example, when looking at the number band 0 – 100, the students found it helpful to determine where 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 should be on the number line. This single step helped a lot because the span from just 0 through 100 was too broad for my students.

- Many schools have cinderblock walls. Use the lines between each cinderblock as a benchmark. This really supports spatial reasoning and distance between numbers. I didn’t do this step the 1st time and some students had problems visualizing the distance between each benchmark. This step worked as a scaffold for the students and me : )

- Use a vertical number line like the picture instead of a horizontal number line. Students really “see” how the larger numbers are represented on top and smaller numbers are toward the bottom. Plus a vertical number line is an EXCELLENT tool to help with the concept of rounding and decimals.

I LOVE this math tool! Can you tell? It would be great to have 2 or 3 of them setup in your classroom, this way students can work together to build their own understanding of numbers.

If you want to save time, I have created an Interactive Number Line Complete Kit for Numbers 0 – 150. Click the photo below to preview it.

If you decide to use the Interactive Number Line, let me know how it works in your classroom in the comments section below.

Michelle Bittick says

I love this vertical idea! I've done two things to utilize open number lines with the interactive features. One is permanent on the wall and the other portable: 1) use a long roll of sticky-backed Velcro and secure it to a wall, then use the other side of the Velcro and cut into small pieces to adhere to index cards that are laminated, use dry erase markers to write end values and between numbers; 2) purchase jump ropes at a dollar store with clothes pins, and use index cards to change the end values and position numbers between. For older grades, don't forget to include integers, fractions, decimals and percents!

Thanks for the ideas!

Ally Hebl says

Hello! I am currently attending college to become an elementary/special education teacher. I am currently taking a math methods course and this post fits well into what we are learning in the course. I really love the idea of having an interactive number line in my classroom, especially for when students are working with fractions. I personally still struggle with fractions and I feel that had I had a tool like the interactive number line growing up I would have had a better understanding of fractions. Overall I really like how this tool can be used to build students number sense at any elementary grade. I was in a 4th grade classroom who just began working on fractions and many students were struggling I feel that this interactive manipulative would have benefited those students greatly. The students math block consists of 4 stations which I feel would work perfectly for the interactive number line to be used as a station activity. Since I am also a special education major I really like how the interactive number line can be tailored according to the student needs. This is an awesome differentiation tool. I like how the number line can be used as a formative assessment in order to see how students are doing in terms of their ability to identify where certain number fall on a given range. If I were to use this in my future classroom I would use the interactive number line at the beginning of a unit to pre-assess students and then at the end of the unit to summatively assess how well the students grasped what they learned throughout the unit. I think it would be interesting to see how well students did in the pre-assessment compared to how well they do at the end of the unit with the same numbers. Thank you for your post! I enjoyed reading it and gain insight into mathematical instruction in the elementary grade level.

Ally Hebl says

Hello! I am currently attending college to become an elementary/special education teacher. I am currently taking a math methods course and this post fits well into what we are learning in the course. I really love the idea of having an interactive number line in my classroom, especially for when students are working with fractions. I personally still struggle with fractions and I feel that had I had a tool like the interactive number line growing up I would have had a better understanding of fractions. Overall I really like how this tool can be used to build students number sense at any elementary grade. I was in a 4th grade classroom who just began working on fractions and many students were struggling I feel that this interactive manipulative would have benefited those students greatly. The students math block consists of 4 stations which I feel would work perfectly for the interactive number line to be used as a station activity. Since I am also a special education major I really like how the interactive number line can be tailored according to the student needs. This is an awesome differentiation tool. I like how the number line can be used as a formative assessment in order to see how students are doing in terms of their ability to identify where certain number fall on a given range. If I were to use this in my future classroom I would use the interactive number line at the beginning of a unit to pre-assess students and then at the end of the unit to summatively assess how well the students grasped what they learned throughout the unit. I think it would be interesting to see how well students did in the pre-assessment compared to how well they do at the end of the unit with the same numbers. Thank you for your post! I enjoyed reading it and gain insight into mathematical instruction in the elementary grade level.

mosern76 says

This is a wonderful idea. I'm an education major in college and we often discuss ways to create number sense in students. I thought this was a great way for them to visualize numbers, especially since number lines are often used as tool for students. It's also really simple to change for the specific needs of a classroom. This will be a great tool to keep in mind as I pursue my degree!

Melissa Albright says

Thank you! I love this idea especially how I can adapt the number line according to the content the kiddos are learning about. The best part of the interactive number line would be listening to the student justifications and debates of why they placed the number where they did. I love the idea of using the interactive number line for fractions as it will provide my fourth graders a visual, hands-on activity on sequencing fractions. I love you blog thank you!

Keisha Cosby says

Hi. Thank you for posting and sharing this idea! I love it and have implemented it in my third grade class. I actually created two: fractions and three-digit numbers. They are so engaged and working together.

tammi light says

I love this idea and I can't wait to try this.

Mark Dawkins says

I must say that's impressive post.

Greg says

Thank you Mark!

Chris Mauer says

We did it as a trial with 0, 500, 1000…worked so well we're going to make it permanent in our neighborhoods in 3rd grade to start using the decimal and fraction idea for our advanced math kiddos and whole numbers to 2000 for the gen ed math students. Our plan is to put a strip of industrial velcro on the wall and use laminated numbers with the velcro on the back so they can be re-used for years to come. I'll post pics when we're finished! Thanks for the great idea. We had some kiddos really struggling with where the numbers belong and this made it so great for them…they felt successful which was AWESOME! Thanks!

Greg says

Thank you so much for your comment Chris. It is always great to hear stories about student success! I can't wait to see the pictures.

Greg

Miss J in K says

I love this idea and am trying to incorporate it into my classroom! How do you attach the student numbers to the wall? I am struggling with figuring that part out!

Greg says

Hello! I just used painter's tape. You should also use velcro that has a sticky backing.

Greg

Jennifer Owen-Kuhn says

I like this idea! My question is about when we are working with students and wanting to know what number comes before or after another. It seems the vertical number line could cause some confusion with that. I love how you can see the numbers increase and decrease, but I am wondering how you would approach before and after. Thanks!

Greg says

Hi Jennifer! Great question. I always believe that using multiple representations is a key component to math instruction. Students should be prepared to see things in many different ways. I would expose students to both vertical and horizontal number lines. I would just stress to students that if they are using a vertical number line the relationship with the numbers above the target number relate to "after" and the numbers below the target number relate to "before". I hope that helps!

Greg

Jessica Vogel says

I love this idea! I've seen a 5th grade gifted teacher warm-up with a similar activity. She used a piece of string that she strung across the front board. Students picked an index card and attached it in the correct place on the line with a paper clip. Her number line included whole numbers, mixed fractions, decimals, percents, and improper fractions. I've been brainstorming how to use this same concept in all grade levels and this post really helped me visual the activity at each grade level! Thank you for sharing!!

Greg says

Thanks for your comment Jessica. I have seen the string method as well, but with clothespins vs. paperclips. That is another great way to create an interactive number in your classroom. Number lines are so versatile. You can teach a range of concepts with them. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

Greg

Mahogany Amy says

This is such a great idea! I know several of my students will benefit from this activity! Thank you for sharing your work!

Greg says

Your welcome Mahogany. I love sharing math ideas. I'm glad you like found it helpful.

Greg

Unknown says

I love your sharing about using number lines. Great hints and illustratiions. This is a neat blog. I wonder if you would want to share it on kendralomax.wordpress.com which has a list of informative math blogs. I am a elementary teacher, math coach currently working as an author and consultant. I think you'd enjoy my recently published series of picture books, Use Your Math Power, showing primary students discussing and solving math problems http://sde.com/PD-Resources/Book-Resources/MathPower. Students use number lines in two of the books, Hatching Butterflies and Penguins on Parade.

Thank you for sharing your insights on the web!

Nancy Belkov

Greg says

Thank you Nancy! I am glad you like the blog. I just looked at kendralomax.wordpress.com and I was impressed by the amount of great math resources. Loved the videos! I would love to check out your books.

Greg

C.Farrar says

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with number lines. I really enjoyed to see the activities increase with difficulty as the grade level increased. I teach Kindergarten and use number lines fairly often. However, I do not directly teach how to use a number line. I wait until my students are ready. Students usually show readiness when they are able to actively and correctly count on and if students are using counting- on as a strategy to solve addition problems. Once students demonstrate this ability, we begin to discuss the number line. This is important because a number line is a great way to represent counting-on. Moreover, your blog encouraged me to try out more number line warm-ups and to continue to daily usage of a number. They truly improve number sense! I live in a Kindergarten bubble, so was great to see what upper grades are doing. Thank you again for sharing!

C. Farrar

Greg says

Thank you so much for you comment! I agree with you. Number lines are a great way to teach counting on. For Kindergarten students I like to start off with a modified number line (1 row of 11 boxes with the numbers 0 through ten written inside – 1 box for each number). Then I have students point to a number in one of the boxes. Next I have them count on or backwards by pointing in the boxes. After enough practice, I transition them to the more traditional number line. Let me know how the warm-ups go!

Greg

neansai says

Great idea! Parents could do this at home, too.

Greg says

Thank you for your insight. This would be a great activity for parents to do with their kids at home to build number sense.

Greg

Laurel Mattern says

Can't wait to do this- thanks for the resources!

Greg says

Your welcome Laurel. Please be sure to come back and comment to let me know how it went in your classroom.

Greg

Courtney Petzold says

Hi Greg,

Thank you so much for sharing this idea. I love it and can't wait to implement it with my second graders. Quick question for you… how do you get your number cards to stick to the cinder block wall?? Do you use tape?

Thanks!

Courtney

petzold.courtney@gmail.com

Greg says

Hello Courtney. Your welcome. I used the same blue painter's tape to stick the cards to the wall. I would recommend laminating the cards also.

Greg