A Powerful Tool: The Open Numberline in Guided Math Groups Part 1

Posted on December 19, 2010. Filed under: During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Graphic Organizers | Tags: , , , |

The open number line is a power tool — one that promotes powerful mathematical thinking.  It helps children to show and explain their invented strategies, builds flexibility with numbers and scaffolds the mental representation of number and number operations to support mental arithmetic strategies (Fosnot,2007 ; Beishuizen, 1993 & Gravemeijer, 1991).

The open number line gives students a model for representing their thinking.  It requires that they be actively engaged in their explanations.  It is more cognitively demanding than either base ten blocks or the hundred chart according to Klein, Beishuizen and Treffers, 2002 cited in Fosnot,2007).

It is great to use this strategy with the whole group, but if you really want to have in-depth conversations then you should do it in small guided math groups so children can have the time to explain their thinking.  In a guided math group, the teacher would model use of the open number line and then give the students the opportunity to work on a problem together with the open number line.  Finally, the teacher would give each student an opportunity to solve a problem using the open number line as the model while explaining their thinking to the group. 

 Here are some great videos of the open number line in action!







Dreambox has a virtual numberline that we can use for free!!! Yeah, we love good free stuffJ http://www.dreambox.com/blog/the-latest-free-dreambox-teacher-tool-open-number-line-developing-number-sense%E2%84%A2




Fosnot, C.T. (2007). Measuring for the art show. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann or Fosnot, C.T. and Dolk, M (2001) Young mathematicians at work: Constructing early number sense, addition and subtraction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fosnot, C.T. and Uittenbogaard, W. (2007). Minilessons for extending addition and subtraction. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

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