Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Teaching Integers

Number, 3D, Rainbow, Gradient, BrightMy Pre-algebra students have had trouble with adding and subtracting integers.  They either add the numbers together or subtract them regardless of the signs.  I've been trying to have them slow down to determine if the signs are the same or different. 

They don't want to use a number line, chips or any other manipulatives so out of desperation, I tried something new which helped several of them.

Starter, Career, Start Block, NumbersI laid several pieces of masking tape across the floor, marked them like a number line with zero in the middle, negative numbers to the left and positive numbers to the right.  After dividing the students up into groups and assigning each group to a number line, I had them physically move around the number line to solve a series of problems.

For example, for 4 - 5, one student stood on positive 4 and then walked to the left five places to get to -1.  They took turns doing this.  I allowed about 10 minutes for this activity.

What was great is that at the end of it, many of the students were able to do the calculations much more accurately than before.  They were much better at showing they could add signed numbers.  I am so thrilled to have this breakthrough happen for both them and myself.  Yeah!