Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Adding and Subtracting Integers - Section 1: Do-Now


I am strongly against teaching students gimmicks inside of math classrooms. When we encourage students to “add them if they are the same” we are cheating them of an opportunity to develop their own mathematical reasoning skills. Instead, I try to rely on models (e.g., number lines) and I insist that my students use them on paper until they internalize them and can apply them to perform operations fluently.  

When integers arise in my class throughout the course of the school year, I will only allow students to respond using a number line or zero pair reference. This may seem cumbersome, but the payoff for students is too large to eschew.

Early in the school year students will begin instinctively drawing number lines on the sides of their papers. By mid-year, if students are asked a more complex question such as -71-6, they are able to visualize in their head where -71 would be on a number line, then moving six spaces to the left further away from zero, yielding -77. By the end of the year, students have developed a integer intuition, and are able to complete these problems on their own. 


  Is it Same-Change-Change or Change-Same-Change or...
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Is it Same-Change-Change or Change-Same-Change or...
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Adding and Subtracting Integers

Unit 3: Numeracy
Lesson 2 of 5

Objective: SWBAT model and solve problems that ask them to add and subtract positive and negative numbers fluently.

Big Idea: Students will conceptualize the addition and subtraction of integers with a number line and counter chips.

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11 teachers like this lesson
Math, Algebra, Integers, modeling, properties of integers, division, multiplication, geometric patterns, evaluating algebraic expressions
  80 minutes
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