Lesson plan

Understand zero as a representation of a target or reference point by interpreting the meaning of zero and of absolute values

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.6.NS.C.5 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/6/NS/C/5
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.6.NS.C.7c http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/6/NS/C/7/c
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.6.NS.C.7d http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/6/NS/C/7/d
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP1
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP2 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP2

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Big Ideas: Zero has different meanings in different situations. Absolute value is a number's distance from zero. This lesson builds on students' work with explaining the meaning of 0 and interpreting absolute value in real-world contexts. The task uses the concept of dimensional tolerances in a machine shop which manufactures gears for cookie dough mixers. Students are presented with the sizes of five gears and tasked with finding and graphing the gears' variation from the targeted size, using the absolute value of this variation to determine whether or not a gear is of allowable size. By working with 0 as a representation of or stand-in for the ideal dimensions, students experience 0 as a point on a scale rather than as an absence of quantity, and practice distinguishing a number's value from its absolute value. Vocabulary: millimeter, diameter, absolute value