Rounding on a Number Line

 My 3rd graders have been working on putting double digit numbers on a number line and the next step is using that knowledge to round numbers to the nearest ten.

I know there are a lot of rhymes out there "5 or above, give it a shove, 4 or below, let it go" but they never seem to stick with my kids. To read more about my feelings on these rhymes, check out THIS post that has more details about rounding on a number line. They memorize the rhyme wrong or apply it incorrectly and, without a solid understanding of a number line and what rounding numbers really means they don't notice that their answers are unreasonable.

 So today we took to the sidewalk. My kids are very body smart so, given a two digit number, they marched along the number line chanting their tens as they went. When they got to their number, they would stop and put their finger on the number line. They recorded the decade numbers that their number was in between. Using smaller hash marks to designate where the "5" would go, they then circled the ten that there number was closer to.

I will admit, for 3/5 of my 3rd graders this activity really clicked for them and they were really understanding numbers in the grand scheme of a number line to 100. For 2/5 of my third graders, being outside was just too plain stimulating and the bugs were too interesting to focus on math! Overall, I was pleased with this kinesthetic approach to rounding!

My kids will continue to practice and solidify their understanding with a number line activity from a pirate math pack I made last year. I swear, math centers are a life saver when it comes to additional practice and skill fluency!!

If you would like to learn more about using a number line to round, check out this step by step set of rounding activities. Your students will be rounding to the nearest ten with the foundation to take on larger numbers in no time!

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  1. I love this idea!! :) we are having fabulous weather now too!

  2. Oh...what a great idea! Number lines are not my favorite thing to teach. Love the pirate themed math center. I agree...math games are a lifesaver!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I agree that centers are key for providing the practice kids need to improve their skills!
    Kate's Classroom Cafe

  4. I love the outdoor learning! I haven't used sidewalk chalk with my students in years! Thanks so much for the reminder! I have to take them out this week!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

    1. And...I'm excited to be your newest follower-found you from the linky party!

  5. What a fun way to teach your students about the number line! FUN!!! Teaching with Giggles

  6. I completely agree with your reasoning using a number line for rounding! We are using the modules for NYS and are teaching rounding using this method too. I love that you brought the learning outside!
    Fourth Grade Flipper
    Fourth Grade Flipper