Lesson plan

3. Use distance and direction to add rational numbers (FP)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.7.NS.A.1b http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/7/NS/A/1/b
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP1
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP6 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP6
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Lesson objective: Add rational numbers using the idea of distance and direction.

This lesson helps to build procedural skill with adding rational numbers, including both positive and negative numbers written as fractions or decimals. The number line is used here because it supports students in thinking about the sign of a number indicating direction, and that there are two numbers a given distance from the first addend. This work develops students' understanding that we can think of adding with any rational numbers in the same way we think about adding positive rational numbers, by combining lengths.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 7 (Look for and make use of structure) as they use the structure of addition that they know from working with positive numbers and the structure of the number line to practice representing sums of integers.

Key vocabulary:

  • integers
  • rational numbers

Special materials needed:

  • blank number lines (optional)