Hopping Up & Down the Number Line

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify the subtraction and addition sign and understand their function by hopping a bunny up and down a number line.

Big Idea

Kinders get the functions of addition and subtraction confused! This lesson helps kids remember what they are supposed to do when they see an addition or subtraction sign.

Daily Calendar & Counting Review

15 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon.  This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a  “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.

Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched"Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and backcounting by tens to 100 and counting to 100by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.

Direct Instruction

10 minutes

I read Five Little Monsters to the kids. I think aloud the addition and subtraction on each page. I use a number line under the doc cam to demonstrate the subtraction.

I also add the missing monsters so the kids can see the movement up and down the number line. I place a subtraction or addition sign under the doc cam before I move on the number line so they can begin connecting the movement with the sign.

I demonstrate this several times. I then take the cards away and use a +/- dice in their place. I roll the dice just like they will during the game. I demonstrate moving one up or one down for several rounds.  Once I think they have that idea, I add the number dice.

I demonstrate rolling the +/- dice and the number dice about 10 times. After that I have them tell me what to do and in what order. When they can do that, they are ready for guided practice.

**When I roll a number that is too large to subtract, I tell them that they cannot play that round and it goes to their partner. To practice taking only 3 away when they've rolled a 5 is setting them up for failure!

Guided Instruction

10 minutes

The goal of this activity is simply to get them clear and accustomed to responding properly to subtraction and addition signs. One of the biggest struggles kids have is recognizing and responding appropriately to specific mathematical signs. Often, when you give a child a page of mixed addition and subtraction problems, they don't acknowledge the sign and just add everything. This activity helps prepare them for that challenge. In small steps the kids learn to acknowledge the different signs.

I pair up the kids and give them each a number line, bunny, and one dice with addition and subtraction signs and another with numbers 1-6.

They take turns rolling and jumping as I guide them step by step. I choose who goes first in each pair (Partner A). When we move to independent practice, Partner A will go first.

I have them roll with me. I ask each Partner A what they rolled, addition or subtraction. I tell them which way they will move.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Have the materials prepped and ready to go. Do not waste class time on having the kids cutting and pasting the number lines. Copy them on card stock and cut and paste them while you're watch your favorite TV show.

Partner A goes first.

1) Roll the sign dice.

2) Tell your partner what sign it is.

3) Roll the number dice.

4) Tell your partner what number it is.

5) Move your bunny if you can. If you don't have enough spaces left to move your bunny, you loose your turn and your partner gets to roll, e.g. You are on zero and you roll a minus 2. You loose your turn because you can't move to the left two space.

Partner B goes.

While they play, I roam the room to assist kids in moving their bunny the correct direction and the correct number of jumps.

I also ask kids why they are moving the direction they are moving. I am NOT looking for "because it's a plus (addition) sign". I am looking for because when you add you get more. When you subtract you get less.


10 minutes

We join on the floor to discuss what we did in this activity and what we learned. The kids are encouraged to share ideas that would make this activity more effective or a way we could use it for another lesson.

One student suggests that we use it to solve addition and subtraction problems.  Hmmmm...Great idea!

Another student shares that he was struggling with knowing when to go up or down the number line. He said there were too many steps for him to "get it" and do it with confidence. His partner explained to him that the subtraction sign means to take away or get smaller so to hop back on the number line and an addition sign means to get more or bigger number and to hop forward on the number line. In the reflection you can see a short video clip of the student coaching him in the steps to hop up and down the number line.