Using Numberlines in Guided Math Groups

Posted on November 6, 2010. Filed under: Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Manipulatives | Tags: |

Number lines are a great visual tool.  There are many different types of numberlines that can provide a scaffold into deeper understanding. You want to use numberlines so that students have visual models and understanding of the relationships between numbers (see ).  Numberlines provide visual scaffolds so students can picture what they are doing.  Numberlines can be used to teach counting, skip counting, even and odd numbers, rounding, positive and negative integers, fractions, decimals and time.  Here are a some links to a few good resources by category.


***(colorful, primary numberlines)

(to ten)


Skip Counting

(by 2’s)

(by fives)


Addition (sing this song as students use a number line to figure out the answer)



Problem Solving


(up to 100)

(up to 500)

(up to 1000)



(with negative values)


Elapsed Time

(by the hour)

(intervals of 5 minutes)

(google: “wow how time flies” for a page to uen which has a pdf of an elapsed timeruler) (scroll to bottom for word document of ruler)

General Resources


(Make your own numberlines)

(article about fraction numberlines) and and

Have fun! Write me and let me know how it’s going.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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2 Responses to “Using Numberlines in Guided Math Groups”

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Hi Dr. Nicki,
First of all, the rationale for using number lines from the ThinkMath curriculum is a resource which all teachers should read. We use the ThinkMath curriculum at Nathan Hale in New Haven. It took a couple of years for teachers to get comfortable with the approach, but it is working for us. As with all math programs, the teachers pull from many resources to design lessons. Thank you for the plentiful number line resources. I have a question. How can I teach what number comes before or after a bigger number, such as ____ 246 ______ with a number line? It really gets tricky when the numbers are _____,190,_____ or _____, _____ 131. I know I can display parts of a number line. I just thought you might have a trick. The students automatically want to count by tens. Why?? Wonderful “stuff”.

Hi Lisa,
I would have them look at number lines and number grids and place their fingers on the number. This makes them focus. Also, have them count within the range of numbers in their heads so they can think about what logically comes before or after. If you practice with number puzzles, where they have number grids with blank spaces that they have to fill in, this helps as well. See examples on the hundreds grid post.
Happy Mathing,
Dr. Nicki

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