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Number lines

(16 Posts)
academyblues Wed 19-Oct-11 21:22:18

Reception dd has been introduced to these at school.

She doesn't like them, says they muddle her and can add or subtract 1 or 2 from a given number in her head or on her fingers.

Are they expected to move towards using number lines, or should I try to encourage her to use them from now?


strictlovingmum Wed 19-Oct-11 21:32:41

Personally we only used number line briefly last year when it was introduced to DD in YR, DH (maths whizz) claimed it will make DD lazy, so very swiftly he moved her onto the mental maths, DD now Y1.
She never uses it now, can easily add any number up to 20 and subtract, on the paper and in her head, I suppose it's a preference thing, some children will rely on number line and some won't need to.
How they do it in class I am not sure, DD did mention number line being used sometimes, but did say that she didn't have to use it if she didn't want to, hope this helps, smile

LindyHemming Wed 19-Oct-11 21:35:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crazygracieuk Wed 19-Oct-11 21:36:13

My experience is the opposite. Number lines are used lots in ks1- especially when adding/subtracting big numbers.

My children found adding and subtracting big numbers much easier when they learned column method.

teacherwith2kids Wed 19-Oct-11 21:45:36

Read your school's calculation policy (may be available on their website or you might need to request one).

There are definitely different approaches to the teaching of addition and subtraction in primary schools - and your school may use one or a combination.

Some schools use number lines (first numbered, then blank) very extensively in calculation right up to big numbers (e.g. 237 + 76 - jump 3 to get to 240, 60 (or 6 tens) to 300, the last 10 to get to 310 then the final 3 to get to 313) - only 237, 240, 300, 310 and 313 would be written by the child on a blank number line, the child would also draw and label the jumps.

Other schools teach predominantly by partitioning (e.g. 237 + 76 = 200 + 30 + 7 + 70 + 6 = 200 + 30 + 70 + 7 + 6 = 200 + 100 + 13 = 213) leading to the expanded and then contracted column methods.

Other schools teach both methods in oirder to give children alternative 'tools' to use in their maths.

I would say that using a 'numbered' number line when it isn't needed by a child might make them 'lazier', biut using a blank one to record the steps in a calculation is just a useful recording strategy to represent a calculation which it may be too hard to keep track of mentally - IF your calculation policy uses them in that way.

talkingnonsense Wed 19-Oct-11 21:47:08

As long as she knows what it is- they do come up a lot in ks1 and early ks2- I was doing imaginary number lines the other day! But the numeracy strategy involves showing a variety of ways to solve problems.

talkingnonsense Wed 19-Oct-11 21:48:06

Oh yeah, teacher said it better!

cat64 Wed 19-Oct-11 21:51:49

Message withdrawn

teacherwith2kids Wed 19-Oct-11 22:09:44

If ytou were saying that your child could add and subtract 2 and 3 digit numbers mentally without use of a number line in Reception, then I would say 'don't bother, her current method will do fine'.

However, if she is currently adding 1 and subtracting 1 or 2 and she is doing this mentally or using her fingers, then just say to her that she might not need them now but when the numbers get too big for her to count on her fingers it will be useful for her to know how to use a number line to hep her to keep track. REALLY useful for her to be able to 'create her own' number line - you could draw a line and get her to write or place labels for her 'starting' and 'finishing' number when adding 1 or 2, making sure that they are in the right order, discussing whether there are any whole numbers in between them etc etc.

pickledsiblings Wed 19-Oct-11 22:23:39

v useful tool

should help internalise own numberline and the relationship that numbers have to one another, particularly useful when -ve numbers introduced

savoycabbage Wed 19-Oct-11 22:28:48

You should try and encourage her to use them as that is what the teacher is teaching at the moment.

mummytime Wed 19-Oct-11 23:42:45

Understanding numberlines helps a lot later when you are talking about negative numbers. I would make sure she really understands how they work, as another way of doing it. So when she comes on to negative numbers she can see the similarities.
In maths being able to do things different ways (even though you may have a strong preference for one) is a very good thing.

academyblues Thu 20-Oct-11 07:27:24

Thanks. I hadn't really though that different schools teach maths differently, but that makes sense.

I'll check with her teacher, though it sounds like number lines are used extensively these days.

Chandon Thu 20-Oct-11 07:31:04

in Dc school they used number line as well as partitioning (but it's called "chunking")

crazygracieuk Thu 20-Oct-11 07:33:15

Co-ordinates is another topic that uses a number line of sorts.

LegoundertheInstep Thu 20-Oct-11 13:09:58

Never get hung up on one method for anything in Maths. Yes, she should be able to understand number lines and she may at some stage find them useful, but its the child's understanding that matters not the particular method or approach. Having said that, you don't want to antagonise the school or individual teacher, so play along but don't make your child feel a failure if she resists - just let it go. Years of 1 to 1 tutoring made me realise just how differently individual children interpreted the stuff we teachers peddle to them. Keep maths fun if at all possible! Ladders are a better choice than number lines in my experience as they go up and down and you can draw stick men falling off them....

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