Lesson plan

Compare and order negative and positive numbers by using the context of elevation above and below sea-level

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.Practice.MP4 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP4

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Big Ideas: Positive and negative numbers can be used to represent elevations above and below sea level. Zero represents an elevation at sea level. As the depth/distance below sea level increases, the elevation decreases. This lesson builds on students' work with extending the number line to include negative numbers. The task presents students with various scenarios related to elevation above / depth below sea level which they must interpret and then order from least to greatest, developing a real-world context from which to understand why bigger negatives are literally "lower." By deliberating on which location ranks as the "greatest elevation" and which is the "greatest depth," students explore the inverse relationship between elevation and depth. The mathematical concepts in this lesson build toward students' future work with absolute value and distance in grades 6 and 7. Vocabulary: sea level, elevation, depth, altitude, positive, negative Special Materials: rulers (optional)