Using a Number Line makes all areas of math easier for your child.

The number line is a very important tool to use when teaching addition. You will see it utilized throughout this website as a tool to teach many other areas of K6 Math also.

It will be an essential tool for you when you move from this stage of basic addition to more complex areas such as number placement, fractions, decimals, negative numbers, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Getting your child familiar with the number line is essential!

If your child is not yet comfortable with the grouping method of addition, you should not progress any further.  Take some time now, to offer your child some fun printable worksheets to get them more comfortable with the concepts behind addition.

Making the transition to the number line is easy.

To transition from one method to another method implies that we will use both at the beginning. I have created a lovely Free Printable Number Line Worksheet for you to use with your child for this very process.  Print it off now before reading further.  Having this available to you will explain much of this process!

Using the Number Line Printable

Taking some small objects such as dried beans or buttons decide on two numbers to be added.  For this example I will take the numbers 3 and 5.

  1. Place three objects in Group 1 box and 5 objects in Group 2 box.
  2. From previous work sheets your child will probably jump right in and start counting the objects.  This is great, as they will know the answer!  However, this exercise really isn't about teaching them addition, but more introducing them to the number line. Encourage them to follow the next steps rather than just adding the numbers!
  3. Have your child remove the objects from Group 1 and place them from left to right on the numbers on the line.
  4. Have your child fill in the box for Group 1 with the number representing the number of objects.
  5. Have your child remove the objects from Group 2 and place them from left to right on the available numbers on the line
  6. Have your child fill in the box for Group 2 with the number representing the number of objects.
  7. Now ask your child what is the last number on the number line covered by an object! Fill this number in the total box!

This is the answer to the question 'what is 3 + 5 equal to?'

Don't forget that Whole Numbers include Zero

The concept of zero may not be as easy as you think.  But it is vital that your child does understand that whole numbers contain the number zero.  Using this exercise ensure that you give some addition problems containing Zero.  To make your life a little easier I have created a Number Line Work Sheet which also contains recommended simple sums.  

There are also some interesting extension notes on this printable about how you are helping your child establish from first principles some algebraic rules for addition and their addition math facts.

What should be next?

Remember that math should be fun!  If your child is struggling with this concept, they may just not be ready for it.  There are no steps backwards in math, just repositioning yourself and your student to their comfort zone.  From here they will build a better understanding of math with your help. 

Don't rush them.  Allow them to explore, comment and 'discover' the simpler things.  Be suitably surprised and impressed when they 'discover' that 2 + 3 is the same as 3 + 2!  This will just encourage them to look for more patterns.  When they do this, they are venturing into the wonderful world of Number Theory!  Enjoy the ride with them!

If you enjoyed this information on the Number Line, check out all my other Printable Manipulatives, or explore all that Printable Math Worksheets has to offer.

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