For certain every year my mathematicians are grasping the number line better than the year before, which hands-down has something to do with the fact that I'm teaching it better. It's amazing how that works.
This year my number line Aha! moment came when I realized it's a model that's useful in various contexts, which of course leads to more meaningful connections. Here are three ways my mathematicians are using the number line in our measurement unit.
Little did I know until I was in the midst of things that I was actually incorporating a few of the Practice Standards. (Imagine what I could accomplish if I used them with intentionality. Oh my.)
Practice Standard 5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
I can't help but think that some of the dots are connected more securely for these mathematicians after strategically seeing and using the number line tool in a different context from what they're accustomed to.
Practice Standard 7: Look for and make use of structure.
They're also being exposed to the patterns that repeat themselves and hold various mathematical concepts together. Math concepts should be integrated, not isolated. I can honestly say I'm not nearly intentional about solidifying those connections as I could be, but this year's Aha! moment is helping.
I keep thinking that one of these years I'll have this math thing down. I'm pretty sure I'm missing the mark in a myriad of ways, but I'm holding on to the idea that I'm moving in the right direction. There's hope.