Visualizing Integers in our World

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SWBAT create a visual image of above and below sea level or ground level.

Big Idea

Making connections between art, math, and the real world helps students understand integers in our daily lives.


15 minutes

I’m going to use this time to explain the project to the students.  For this activity, students will be working independently on creating a visual representation of above and below sea level or ground level.  Students need to know that they will be responsible for placing 20 objects in their picture each with an appropriate integer label.  For each integer, they will need to explain the meaning of the integer on a separate sheet of paper.  (This is explained on the direction sheet).  Their final project needs to be neat and in color.

Student Created Rubric.


60 minutes


Students will be working independently on this project, however, they can solicit ideas and help from tablemates.

As students are beginning to start this project, some students may need help deciding on what to draw.  I ask them to think about things that are above and below sea level or above and below ground level.  Some students have been so creative to draw their house with a basement or New York and the subways.

Other issues come about when students are placing integers in the picture.  They forget about the order.  Remind students that the integers need to be representative of their placement.  For the low-learner, I look to see if the integers are in the correct order. If not, I point out the objects that are out of order and ask them if it’s possible.  For some students, I have them create a vertical number line on the side to help them decide on the integer.

Closure + Homework

10 minutes

Since the students have been working on a project, the closure for this day will be to make sure they have most of the criteria for their project completed.  We will re-read the directions and students will check their work, making note of anything that is missing.  I will allow students to take the project home to complete since they have had most of the class period to work on it and the expectations are clear.