Fraction Number Line Tightrope Activity

It took a while to really "sell" me on the idea of using number lines (and I'm a visual learner)!  However, since number lines don't seem to be going away when it comes to curricula and standardized testing, I knew I had to accept them, get comfortable with them, break them down for those kids who also are not initially "sold" on them either, and make them interesting for my class.  I've developed games and homework pages, but this year I wanted to "step" it up a notch and engage those kinesthetic learners.  So that's when I created "Number-line Tightropes!" 

How I Set Up the Number line Activity

While my fourth graders were at music, I broke out the masking tape.  I taped 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines on the floor.

Next, I labeled the whole numbers with tenths at each intersecting tile.  

 I started on a vertical line with zero and worked my way up to 2.20.  Notice at that point, there was an intersecting horizontal line.  

On the horizontal line, I did the same thing, but instead of starting at the end with zero, I worked around the intersection.  To the left it says 2.10, and to the right (although you can't see it) it says 2.3.

Of course, I did not fill in every number; some of that work had to be for the kids!

Next, I drew smaller increments on the horizontal lines.  Those represent the hundredths.

I followed the horizontal line to the left until I got to 1.3.  At that point I came to another intersection.  Just as before, I worked up and down the vertical line from 1.3, filling in the tenths, but saving some spots for the kids to complete.

Below, I followed the vertical line to 0.4, which brought me to the final intersection.  I filled in the hundredths on the horizontal line.

The activity: the kids walked in after music, they were "floored."  They could not WAIT to interact with the tape on the floor!

I had each of the 4 groups take a "line" to fill in some of the blanks.

Finally, a simple dice rolling game kept the kids engaged in studying the lines.  Roll a dice, move your "guy" that many tenths (for the vertical lines) or that many hundredths (for the horizontal lines). 

So much fun!  And for homework, I made these fraction number line worksheets

Then to reinforce the activity I created a follow up fraction number line game that can be played again and again during small group work or math centers.  Our custodians preferred this game.

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  1. There are problems involving fractions which require several steps to be taken before you get convert any decimal number into a fraction to the solution. Many fraction problems also require that more than one basic math operation be utilized.


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