Number lines can be a real pain to make with all the lines and notches and having to match them up. After I built some custom lines for my class, I shared them in my store on TeachersPayTeachers! These can be used to teach addition, subtraction, rounding, or even fractions! I have found that number lines can be an incredibly powerful tool to help students with developing a stronger foundation of number sense.
One way I used number lines in my third grade classroom is with rounding. I find that using a number line can provide my visual learners with a tool that will allow them to see which hundred or ten the number being rounded is closer to. For example, when rounding to the nearest hundred I used the zero to 1,000 and zero to 2,000 number lines. I would give my small group of students a number such as 827. We would discuss if 827 comes before or after 850 (it’s great because the notch is already there on the number line for students to reference halfway between two hundreds). The students would then plot a point on the left side of 850 and they were able to visually see that 827 is closer to 800 and not 900.
I did the same learning activity with rounding to the nearest ten, but I used the zero to 100 number line and the zero to 200 number line. It was just another strategy that the students could use to master rounding. Again it was really helpful for my visual learners and quickly those students noticed that any number less than 50 would round down any number 50 or more would round up.
I find the more ideas you can pull from to help teach a skill will increase the likelihood of student mastery. Once you have a plethora of ideas and resources, you as a teacher can focus on what needs you see in your math students and then you can make a decision on what strategy or resource will best meet the needs of your student. Using number lines can be a great tool to use with a variety of math concepts. Laminate the resource and it is ready to be used over and over again in your classroom!