Today we were learning how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers. Just the thought of it gives me the shakes ;) So I did a few things to *try* and make it a bit easier for the kids to grasp and thought I would share with you all.
We began talking about number lines, as we were going to be using them throughout today. Using a number line as our starting point, I broke the equation down like this for the kids.
OK..that is probably confusing to you, as you don't exactly know what was going on in class. I had the students create a human number line.
One of my students was the "walker". He stood on the number line at the 6. The subtraction sign told him to then face the negative side of the number line, so he turned around to face negative. the -4 is a negative number, so it says to walk backwards 4 spaces. So, while facing negatively, he is walking backwards (which actually puts him more positive).
We did a few of these problems, and with the kids actually turning their body in the right direction, then walking, the students seemed to grasp it.
Next, each student made their own number line on their desk. I created this document for them so it would be easier. The kids cut out the pieces, glued them together, and had a big number line.
They also cut out the little man. If you notice, he is facing opposite directions. They cut him out in a little square, then glued the two pieces back to back. This gave them a "walker" who could be turned in either the positive or the negative direction.
Once the number lines and men were made, we worked on a few problems together, using the manipulatives, until they seemed to grasp the concept...and they did! It all seemed to fall into place for them, much better than it did last year when I just tried to teach them a whole bunch of rules. ;) We will get to that, but for now, I am happy that they are understanding how to use the number line to help them!
here is the document, in case you want to give it a try.