Number Lines (and Number Paths for Kindergarten and 1st grade) are a vital visual tool in mathematics. They aren't just for ordering/sequencing numbers (see Common Core Standards 2.MD.6, 3.NF.2, 3.NF.3, 3.MD.1, 4.NF.6, 4.MD.2, 5.G.1, 6.RP.3, 6.NS.6, 6.NS.7, 6.EE.8, 6.SP.3, 7.NS.1, 8.NS.2). Once children learn the sequence of numbers, number lines can be very useful for addition and subtraction. Many teachers believe that number lines are only supposed to be used in the early elementary, but number lines are such a wonderful way to help children understand fractions, decimals, money, and time problems. These number line apps are some of my favorites.
Favorite Number Line Apps
Line 'em Up -This app gives kids an introduction into a
number path. It gives them part of a number
path started and then they have to finish it.
Great for getting kids to understand the order
of numbers and sets it up into a linear model
so that kids can then understand a number
Zoom - This app helps kids place numbers on a
number line. They can Zoom in, to look at a
small piece of the number line, or Zoom out
to see an extended number line. FREE with paid upgrades
Lobster Diver and Pearl Diver - Both of these apps help students understand a number’s
placement on a number line
(fractions and negatives included). FREE
MathTappers: Number Line - This app is all about placing numbers on a number line. There are lots of options in this app so that you can set the number size (whole numbers, decimals, negatives) as well as the tick marks that are shown, or not shown, on the number line. FREE
MathTappers: Estimate Fractions - Wanting kids to think about which benchmark number (0, 1/2, 1) a fraction is closest to? This app does just that. Kids have to estimate which benchmark the fractions are closest to and then place them on the number line by that benchmark number. There are options of changing it to having the kids estimate the answers to addition and subtraction problems as well. FREE
Coop Fractions - A fun way to work on estimating with
fractions. When you are shown a
problem you have to move the
chicken’s nest near where the
answer to the problem lies on a
number line. If you don’t get their
nest in the right area the eggs will
Online Tools for Number Lines
DreamBox is one of my favorite online programs, but if you can't afford to do a subscription to their site they still have wonderful online teacher tools that you can find here:
The tools on DreamBox that make use of the number line are:
Addition with Tens on a Number Line
Addition on the Number Line Using Landmark Numbers
Subtraction on the Number Line Using Constant Difference
Ordering Fractions on a Number Line
Integers on the Number Line
Equivalent Fractions on the Number Line
Conceptua Math is another of my favorite online programs, but they are also subscription based. Just like DreamBox, they put some great tools online to help teachers who do not have a subscription. Check them out at https://www.conceptuamath.com/app/tool-library.
Here are two of their tools that can help you address fractions on a number line:
Place Fractions on a Number Line
Estimate Fractions with Benchmarks
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives is a wonderful site that has a lot of online teaching tools. Here are a few links to some of their tools that address number lines:
Number Line Arithmetic - This virtual manipulative can help you model addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on a number line.
Number Line Bounce - In this game, kids have to show the bounces along the number line in order to land at a specified number.
Number Line Bars - Uses bars and the number line to model addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Nice way to help kids see the connection between the number line and bar model (or tape diagrams).
Number Line Bars: Fractions - Uses bars and the number line to model addition, subtraction, and division with fractions. Nice way to help kids see the connection
between the number line and bar model (or tape diagrams).
Place Value Number Line - Nice activity to help kids visualize large (billions) and small (decimals) numbers and all the numbers in between.