ALEX Lesson Plan


Wonder Number Line

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Tim McKenzie
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33126


Wonder Number Line


This lesson allows students to become familiar with a number line. Students can explore a number line and develop knowledge of numerical concepts. While it covers a 6th grade standard, this lesson can be used as part of a 7th or 8th grade lesson on integers.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (6)
8. Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values (e.g., temperature above/below zero, elevation above/below sea level, credits/debits, positive/negative electric charge); use positive and negative numbers to represent quantities in real-world contexts explaining the meaning of 0 in each situation. [6-NS5]
MA2015 (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]

Local/National Standards:

Math Practice Standards:

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

4. Model with mathematics.

5. Use appropriate tools strategically. 

6. Attend to precision.

7. Look for and make use of structure.

8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

I CAN create a number line with negative and positive numbers.

I CAN identify opposites on a number line.

I CAN define absolute value as the distance of a number from 0.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Blank sentence strips, Wonder Number Line activity guide (found in attachments), Math Toolbox which includes the following: pencil, paper, graph paper, markers, scissors, glue, calculator, sticky notes

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive Whiteboard (Optional) with required software, Document camera, projector, laptop or computer capable of showing videos


The teacher must make the appropriate number of copies of the "Wonder Number Line" activity guide (found in attachments). Copies should be made so that students can work collaboratively.

Teacher must prepare the appropriate number of Math Toolboxes.

Teacher must ensure that the video of Life Below Zero trailer works in their classroom.

Students must have knowledge of number progression.


1. The teacher will show the trailer for Life Below Zero (linked above). After the video, the teacher will ask, "What temperatures did you hear or see on the video?" "What is the coldest temperature you have felt?"

2. The teacher will inform the students that the freezer in their home stays around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The teacher will ask, "What do you notice about these temperatures that are below 0 degrees?" Ideal answer, "They are very cold." The teacher will then ask, "What is the difference between 125 degrees and -125 degrees?" Students will give responses, but teacher must refrain from giving further information because of the investigation.

3. The teacher will inform the students they will be investigating numbers on both sides of 0 on a number line. 

4. The teacher will transition students in the Wonder Number Line investigative activity. (The teacher can instruct the students how to connect two sentence strips together, i.e. stapler, glue, or tape, but the rest of the activity should be investigative.) As the students are working, the teacher will act as a facilitator and coach. The teacher will use appropriate questioning to drive understanding of positive and negative number and absolute value.

5. Once adequate time (20-30 minutes, less time if using this in 7th and 8th grade) is given, the students will share their findings on the document camera. (If a document camera is not available, students may present their work in the front of the class, this is where the students would need chart paper). As the students are sharing, the teacher is acting as the facilitator and coach asking questions that drive ratio understanding. "How do you know ________?" "Can someone explain the thinking of your classmate?" "Did someone see this differently?" It is important that the teacher drives the discussion toward absolute value. The teacher will introduce absolute value as, "the distance of any number from 0." The teacher may also ask, "Can the absolute value of a number be negative?"

6. Students will complete an exit slip answering the question, "Think back to the Life Below Zero video, what is the difference between 150 degrees and -150 degrees?"

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Assessment Strategies

Formal formative assessment: Exit Slip (Question is found in procedures)

Formal Assessment: Using the Investigative Activity Rubric (found in attachments) teacher will evaluate students' work.

Informal Formative Assessment: As the students are working, the teacher will act as the facilitator and coach. Teacher will ask questions to evaluate students (i.e. How do you know ______? What did you do to get that?) Teacher may pull small groups during investigation on a needs basis.


Using the number line that students created, the teacher can hold a multitude of mathematical conversations. Furthermore, in 7th and 8th grade this number line can be used to teach operations with integers.


During the investigative activity, the teacher may use questioning to evaluate students. From this questioning, the teacher can develop small groups to assist students with the activity and ensure understanding.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.