ALEX Learning Activity


Lining Up With Integers

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Samantha Wallace
System:Limestone County
School:Cedar Hill Elementary School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2289
Lining Up With Integers
Digital Tool/Resource:
Web Address – URL:
Not Applicable

The students will create integer cards (using positive and negative whole numbers and decimals) and then work with classmates to put them in order in a number line diagram.  The activity is progressive to help scaffold understanding.

This activity was created as a result of the ALEX  Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 6
9 ) Understand a rational number as a point on the number line. Extend number line diagrams and coordinate axes familiar from previous grades to represent points on the line and in the plane with negative number coordinates. [6-NS6]

a. Recognize opposite signs of numbers as indicating locations on opposite sides of 0 on the number line; recognize that the opposite of the opposite of a number is the number itself, e.g., - (-3) = 3, and that 0 is its own opposite. [6-NS6a]

b. Understand signs of numbers in ordered pairs as indicating locations in quadrants of the coordinate plane; recognize that when two ordered pairs differ only by signs, the locations of the points are related by reflections across one or both axes. [6-NS6b]

c. Find and position integers and other rational numbers on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram; find and position pairs of integers and other rational numbers on a coordinate plane. [6-NS6c]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
8A2c: Graph or interpret points represented by ordered pairs of numbers on a rectangular coordinate system.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1d: Write or rename rational numbers.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1e: Recognize, translate or apply multiple representations of rational numbers (fractions, decimals, and percents) in meaningful contexts.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1g: Find or model absolute value or apply to problem situations.

NAEP Statement::
8NPO1h: Order or compare rational numbers (fractions, decimals, percents, or integers) using various models and representations (e.g., number line).

NAEP Statement::
8NPO5e: Apply basic properties of operations.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.6.9a- Identify positive and negative numbers on a number line.
M.AAS.6.9b- Locate or plot positive and negative numbers on a number line.
M.AAS.6.9c - Find given points between -10 and 10 on both axes of a coordinate plane.

Learning Objectives:

The students will find and position integers and other rational numbers on a number line diagram.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Begin by reviewing the number zero, and how integers are less than zero. Have students give examples of a situation that can be described with a positive or negative value (ex. giving away money, swimming up through the water, driving back to get something you forgot).

Give each student four index cards. They should listen carefully and place a different value on each card:

  • A positive whole number between 1 and 10
  • A negative whole number between -1 and -10
  • A positive decimal number between 1 and 10
  • A negative decimal number between -1 and -10

After the students have written their four numbers, have them put them in order from smallest to largest on their desks. Check for accuracy.

Next, have the students combine cards with a partner and put them in order from largest to smallest. Check for accuracy.

Next, students in each group should combine and order cards (16-20 numbers). This one can be a competition, whoever finishes first gets bragging rights.

Finally, have all of the kids put the cards back in random order facing down in the middle of the group. Each student should pick one card without looking at it or showing other students.

When the teacher says go, the object of the last activity is to order the students in the class from smallest to largest. Each student places their integer card on their forehead, and they can’t look at it. The students have to stay silent the entire time. They must arrange each other in order without knowing what their own number is.

After everyone has been arranged, check for accuracy.

Choose a few students at random to leave the line and pick a new number card from the desks. They now have to figure out how to place themselves back in the line. Continue until all students have been moved around.

In order to leave the line and go sit at their seat, students have to come up with a situation that describes their integer card.

In closing, ask questions such as:

  • How is 3 greater than -25, even though 25 is a bigger number? The negative sign tells you that you are moving backward away from zero. -25 is like owing 25 before I can even get back to zero. Three is positive.
  • Why do we need negative numbers? So we can describe situations less than zero.
  • Is a negative decimal number still a negative number? Yes, whole numbers, decimals, and fractions can all be negative.
Assessment Strategies:

Students can show Fist-to-Five at the beginning and end of the lesson as an informal pre- and post-assessment. (They hold up fingers to show their understanding, a fist means they didn't understand at all, one finger means they understood a little, all five fingers means they understand it perfectly and could teach it to a friend.)

Observation during the practice will show which students need further support.

The exit ticket (Ordering Integers Exit Ticket) shows whether students can compare and order integers.

Advanced Preparation:

Gather enough index cards for each student.  Copy exit tickets for the students (there are four on a page).

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: decimal, integers, negative, number line, numbers, opposite, positive, rational