Feb
18
2015

Seeking advice on number lines vs number paths…

Seeking advice from my early elementary teachers…

I recently shared this article because, well, it is great stuff. However, one part has been popping up in my thoughts several times. The author says that, for Kindergarten and First, it may be more helpful to use a number path instead of a number line. I read the short one pager she linked to (here) that explains why. It made sense and thought that I needed to look more into it more to find out the “why’s”. I promptly got pulled in another direction and that thought was gone, for the moment.

Since the thought kept surfacing amid the 1001 other things floating around in my brain, I finally made myself look up some more information on it. What I found was…. not a lot… I did however get connected to many “numerology” sites that promised to tell me all about myself. I don’t think I want to know quite that much, so here I am seeking out my fellow number-sense-loving-to-the-point-of-math-geek friends. What have you heard/learned/studied about number paths vs. number lines?

Personally, I want to like them, but I can’t help wondering if labeling the spaces and then switching at 2nd grade to labeling the lines wouldn’t cause more confusion? How does this interact with the “mental number line” that David Sousa says children develop by age 6?

The floor is open… feel free to comment here or on the #OKMathElem facebook group post.

About the Author: Jennifer Lamb

Director of Elementary Math Oklahoma State Department of Education

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