6 Creative Number Line Manipulatives for Early Learners

Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Editorial Team

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Learning numbers is not only about identifying or recognizing them. In fact, it is just the start. The early learners need to understand between the numbers too and carry on the operations. To ease this process, a very basic tool is used by educators. It is called the Number Line.

Children in the early math skill-building stage, take help of the number line to know about ascending and descending order of numbers, patterns and number sequencing, counting, etc. They also use this learning support to know the working behind addition and subtraction operations.

However, not all children are comfortable with the idea of drawing numbers on the number line; their poorly developed writing skills interfere with their practical understanding of number lines. This is why the use of number line manipulatives is along with some fun number line games recommended by researchers and educators.

Listed here are the engaging number line manipulatives that can make early math calculations a cakewalk for beginners.

Top number line manipulatives recommended for kindergartners and primary level learners

1. Number Paths

Number Paths

Just shift the slider to the required number while counting, and find the answer. This number line manipulative can give a better introduction to counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, and so on. Early learners can also acquaint themselves with math operations like addition and subtracting without going through writing struggles.

This number line features the numbers in groups of fives in a color-coded manner. Thus, the students can also learn about grouping the numbers in the sets of 5. Clicking sound contributes to the engagement quotient of this manipulative driving learners to fiddle with numbers by trying different combinations.

2. Eersida Slide and Learn Number Line

Eersida Slide and Learn Number Line

Available in two bright color combinations, these PVC manipulatives by Eersida are easy-to-use number line math counters that serve as teaching tools to help kids learn beginning mathematical knowledge. The sliders come in cute designs with animal prints on them, so kids will want to use them more often.One pack of this sliding number line will suffice for a class of 24 students. And students will get a choice of three different designs to choose from. Each number line is marked with positive integers starting from 0 all the way up to 30. Get your class a pack of these handy manipulatives as an alternative to number line charts and see how it turns learning into a fun activity.

3. Number Line Floor Mat

Number Line Floor Mat

Number line floor mat combines playing with learning. Children are given challenges like add 3 or subtract 3 (just for an example). They do so by jumping on the floor mat by that many numbers, forward or backward, to add or subtract accordingly.

Thus, the whole process of struggling with the mathematical operations’ signs is dodged and the kids get to learn what actually happens when someone asks to add or subtract. This number line manipulative is quite suitable for dyscalculics who show signs of discomfort towards the arithmetic signs and their corresponding functions.

4. Magnetic Modelling Number Line Kit

Magnetic Modelling Number Line Kit

This magnetic number line manipulative kit comes with a magnetic frog and magnetic arrows to give the kids an engaging tool for learning arithmetic operations. The frog shows by its movements what happens when you are adding a number to another number or subtracting the two.

Arrows are used to determine the number which is operated upon and the outcome derived from the arithmetic operation. Thus, you give a break from books, reading and writing and allow kids to internalize the math operations by moving the frogs as instructed in the math operation.

Simple to use and very engaging, this number line manipulative prepares kids to do basic operations confidently and know about the strategies to arrive upon solutions.

5. . Didax Unifix Cubes 1 – 120 Number Line

Didax Unifix Cubes 1 – 120 Number Line

Suitable for kids studying in kindergarten and above, this combination of Unifix cubes and a number line is great for learning counting, place value, fractions, and other arithmetic operations. The number line is divided into small segments, which, when assembled, make a 7’ long track starting at one and ending at 120.

If you already have Unifix cubes in your classroom kit, your students can use them with this interlocking number line. If not, you can always purchase a set to go with this manipulative. Along with the twelve interlocking tracks, you also get teacher notes to learn how to effectively use this resource for teaching math to little kids.

6. Number Balance

Number Balance

Number balance makes it easy for the young learners to understand the concept of equivalents by creating tangible form of equations on the balance.

The numbers written on either side of the balance make it a number line manipulative that can be used to learn counting and adding mostly. It is ideal for giving a practical overview of what is meant by when someone writes ‘4+2=6’ or any other similar equation.

Activities you can do with number line manipulatives

Activity-based learning is very important for grooming the little learners of mathematics into confident problem solvers. Some of the important classroom or at home activities possible to do with number line manipulatives are:

  • Number sense building – Teach what the numbers imply and how their relationships change with application of operations
  • Give practice on counting with the help of quizzes – You give some time to let the child count the numbers on a manipulative and design quick quizzes to test their understanding
  • Play learning-based games – Ask children to move the beads or jump on the number strip, etc. Such simple actions allow kids to internalize adding, subtracting, forward and backward counting, etc.

Concluding Thoughts,

Number line manipulatives, just like other math manipulatives, are incredible tools to help early learners succeed in simple math operations. The versatility and flexibility these tools offer are great for teaching number location, number comparison, basic addition and subtraction, etc. Being able to see numbers in sequential order and in a straight line allows students to understand number relationships and comprehend how mathematical operations work. All in all, number line manipulatives are beneficial for both teachers and students and are very useful in a classroom setting.

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