Operations on integers and integers in general is challenging for many students. Negative numbers are abstract. Whole numbers and fractions can be represented with images. The activity presented draws upon student prior knowledge of thumbs up and down in a vote to make negative more accessible.
The following images are from a Jamboard. Here are accompanying videos on FB Reels and Youtube showing how this works. There are 3 sets of images (or chunks) loosely following a CRA appoach and all referring to the same two situations.
- Prior Knowlege drawing upon a classroom setting (concrete)
- Transition using thumbs (representational)
- Introduction of adding integers, using thumbs (more abstract but still supported by
The activity starts with a couple of classroom votes using thumbs up and down.
This is followed by scaffolding to focus on how the voting works through a comparison of the quantity of thumbs up vs down.
This section introduces thumbs as counters for integers, which is a common instructional strategy (yellow for positive and red for negative). The scaffolding is the same.
Finally, references to thumbs is replaced with the integers values. The thumbs tokens are maintained to allow for continued concrete representation.
To access the Jamboard you must make a copy.