Why are fractions on the number line often difficult? Students must understand three essential concepts.
Three Essential Concepts
Points represent distance from zero, based on the scale of the number line. Equal distances must represent equal amounts. You may need to divide to find the scale, or interval between 0 and the first tick mark.
Count or skip count by tick marks on the line, not the spaces between them. This is important because the tick stand for specific numbers but there are many numbers between ticks, including fractions. Count or skip count starting with 0.
Insert more equally spaced tick marks to identify points between tick marks. Notice that inserting one new tick between ticks doubles the number of intervals. Inserting two new ticks between ticks triples the number of intervals.
Number Line Examples
For practice with fractions on the number line, see the FREE online activity on the E-Games page. This page also shows links to printable games.
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