January 28, 2008

The Value of a Number Line

No pun intended in the title!

Jordyn has been working on building a number line since the first day of school and she is approaching the 100th day in the month of February! A BIG celebration that we will blog about later. Anyway, each month has its own figure which usually matches the seasonal theme of that particular month.

The number line has been an excellent tool in learning a great deal of math concepts. Here are a few that we review often:

:: Number Recognition
:: Counting forwards and backwards
:: Skip Counting (22, 24, 26,....)
:: Number 'Families' (the 10s family, the 20s family, the 30s, etc.)
:: Directional Cues--RIGHT and LEFT

:: The concept of MORE and LESS--when we move to the right, the numbers get bigger, to the left the numbers get smaller; so 65 is more than 41 and 12 is less than 28. Over time, Jordyn has learned to explain this concept on her own.

:: Addition and Subtraction--slowly we have built up to doing simple word problems, verbally of course; example-"find number 45. If you had 45 pieces of candy and Grandaddy sent you two more, how many would you have now?" She now knows to move two spaces to the right and get the answer; or to the left if Mom uses the words 'less or take away'.

:: Understanding that Time is Passing--along with marking a daily calendar, the number line helps to give a visual and more concrete example for understanding the abstract concept of time. Because each month has a different figure, Jordyn is able to to 'see' that September, October, etc. are over and in the past. We can also count how many days of school we had in a particular month by simply counting the Christmas trees, leaves, or whatever.

All of this has been done without pencil and paper. Because Jordyn learns well visually and with hands-on activities, she is having fun and learning so much without feeling overly stressed. Then next year we can begin with some math worksheets and such...but she'll have a HUGE bank of concepts and framework in her mind to 'attach' all of that to!

Next year we may count the school days in the shape of a hundred board. We'll see.

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